Bryan Podgorski is the chef at Tanzy, a new Italian restaurant in Westwood with outlets in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Boca Raton, Fla. He started his culinary career by making pasta at a small restaurant in Northern California more than two decades ago. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas, he worked with Michael Mina in Vegas, then trained under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry in Napa Valley. He returned to Vegas to work as the chef de cuisine at Bouchon Bistro Las Vegas for nearly a decade. At Tanzy, Podgorski is doing his take on California Italian with a petrale sole panzanella with Tokyo turnips, shaved red onion, wilted spinach, caramelized salsify and brown butter vinaigrette; meatballs in a San Marzano tomato sauce; and a pan-seared Scottish salmon with roasted fall squash, caramelized sunchokes, glazed Romanesco and sauce soubise. He’s also curating an extensive selection of cheese and charcuterie, hand-cutting pappardelle, rolling strozzapreti and forming his own orchiette.
What’s coming up next on your menu? Tanzy Westwood is doing a great roasted young beet salad with Chioggia, yellow and red beets, toasted filberts, garden mâche and black truffle vinaigrette. We were doing a seasonal agnolotti with Brentwood yellow corn and a tarragon emulsion, and we are now doing a pumpkin agnolotti with a pumpkin seed pesto.
Latest ingredient obsession? Fall is here, and it is always a great time of year. We see the end of beautiful summer produce, Brentwood yellow corn, heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, etc. Now we are seeing Brussels sprouts, Delicata squash, pears from Frog Hollow Farms. I have a seasonal ingredient obsession. When the products are at their highest point is when I get most excited.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? My pasta sheeter. We are making at any given time eight to 10 different pastas and filled pastas. And my Rational combination oven, I can cook almost everything in it.
The last cookbook you read, and what inspired you to pick it up? I have a very large library of books at home, and I am usually reading two at a time. My most recent books are “Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef” by Massimo Bottura — what a great story as well as a look at a more modern approach to food. The other one is “Classico e Moderno” by Michael White.
What chef has most influenced you? Working for Thomas Keller for 10 years has been my greatest influence on the food that I create. The lessons that I have learned from Thomas are invaluable, including the intensity at which we work, the strict standards and the understanding of a sense of urgency in all aspects of the operation. It’s everything from the ingredients to cleanliness to a philosophical approach to food.
10840 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 307-7004, www.tanzyrestaurant.com/westwood.
More on your favorite new chefs? Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_