Kris Tominaga is the executive chef at Cadet, a new French restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. He started his career in the culinary arts program at Boston University, then went on to work at L’Espalier in Boston with James Hackney.
Tominaga moved to Los Angeles and worked as sous-chef at Joe’s Restaurant in Venice, where he met fellow chef Brian Dunsmoor. The two started the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing pop-up restaurant on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, then went on to open the Hart and the Hunter at the Palihotel on Melrose Avenue.
At Cadet, Tominaga’s first solo project, he’s focusing on dishes inspired by the French countryside, including a tartine topped with white anchovy, radish and butter; rabbit boulettes and biscuits smothered in maple cream, and a raclette of country ham, potatoes and caramelized onion served with mustard and toast. Tominaga is also using the restaurant’s wood-burning grill to cook nearly everything, including shrimp, octopus, pork collar, rib eye and bone marrow.
What is coming up next on your menu? We’re working on more fermented vegetables, a sausage program and playing with smoked beef ribs.
Latest ingredient obsession? I’m not too into exotic ingredients, but I like to boost olive oil flavors with colatura di alice and buttery-earthy flavors with white soy.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again, and what do you order? My go-to restaurant is Torihei in Gardena for the special chicken hearts, if they’ve got them. It’s super-tasty, and you can eat a ton of different things with pitchers of beer for not too much.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Boos Block cutting boards. We outfitted the center of the Cadet kitchen with a 12-foot Boos Block. They're nice to cut on, they’re easier on the eyes and they bring a bit of soul to the commercial kitchen world of all stainless steel.
Your favorite day off away from the kitchen is ... Bonfires, barbecue, liquor and live music.
2518 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 828-3300, www.cadetsm.com