Master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi has given Chef David Lespron the freedom to integrate his personal influence and style into the creations at Katsuya Hollywood – and that he has. We caught up with the growing Chef to see what he’s bringing to the table at Omakase Mondays and for the Katsuya brand these days.
How would you describe your food philosophy?
My food philosophy is: doing things the right way to protect process of cooking and the craft. Working as a team, charting our growth as cooks, while fighting the good fight there are values that cannot be compromised. Respecting the integrity of sustainable food culture, while doing things the right way is how we move forward.
What was your biggest influence in creating the menu for your newest iteration of Omakase?
Mexican food is something I grew up eating everyday, and as a young cook I did everything possible to avoid cooking Mexican because I wanted to be fancy. Now that I have the chance to express myself it seems wrong to not use the flavors I grew up with. It’s a fun menu and we’re happy with it.
What is your fondest foodie moment or cooking memory thus far?
Back when I started cooking the word “foodie” didn’t exist. But if I had to choose, it would definitely be hanging out with Anthony Bourdain for a drink after his show at the Pantages Theater. I met him at The Library Bar after party in 2013.
Can you share fun fact about yourself?
I bribed some of my high school teachers with free food to look the other way as I skipped class. I was always skipping to spend extra time in my culinary arts class.
What food adventures can guests expect at Omakase Mondays?
I want the guests to be pleasantly surprised. They can expect to try food in an approachable way, which would otherwise be intimidating if they were to see it on a menu.
We hear there is a focus of seasonal ingredients in your menu. What is your favorite ingredient to cook with and why?
It would have to be citrus – buy everything citrus right now.
When you’re not in the kitchen where can we find you?
Eating popcorn at The Frolic Room.
What would be your last meal and who would cook it?
A bowl of menudo and a bottle of tequila. My family isn’t that great at cooking so it would have to be one of my line cooks. OR a Howlin’ Rays hot chicken sandwich and a tall Sapporo.
What do you think is the next big food trend?
Talking about the next big food trend.
…Sushi or Sashimi?
Edomae nigiri sushi