Kris Morningstar, chef at the new Terrine on Beverly Boulevard, first fell in love with food in his family’s kitchen. But before graduating from the Cordon Bleu-affiliated California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, Morningstar studied marketing at the University of Maryland. He has worked for some of Los Angeles’ best-known chefs, including Suzanne Goin at A.O.C., Jason Travi at Opaline, Neal Fraser at Grace and Eric Greenspan at
Most recently executive chef at Ray's and Stark Bar, Morningstar is creating at Terrine his version of a French bistro a la California. He makes his own sausage and kraut for the choucroûte garnie, serves his 24-ounce côte de boeuf with fries and pickle brine mayonnaise, and creates monster charcuterie boards full of pork rillettes, terrine de campagne, head cheese and more. And if you're guessing whether he's excited about the return of foie gras, he is.
Latest ingredient obsession? Fish sauce! It brings this amazing funky umami goodness to food, and is clean on the palate, while adding a beautiful depth. People don't realize that every fish sauce is different, but each type has its own qualities that add something new and different to a dish.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again — and what do you order? I love Plan Check — it's the perfect lunch spot, and the one on Fairfax is close to my house. I always get the Southern Fry (fried-chicken sandwich with spicy pimento cheese, ham and pickles).
Favorite kitchen soundtrack? Billy Idol, the true underappreciated hero of the '80s. I usually just put his name in Pandora and rock out to anything the station plays.
Your favorite day off away from the kitchen is ... Honestly, going out to eat. I love taking my son out to lunch. Republique and Sycamore Kitchen have been recent favorites, and I try to visit as many new restaurants as I can. Ever since I was 12 years old, I've loved picking restaurants to try. It's what made me want to be a chef.
What chef has most influenced you? From a cooking perspective, both Jason Travi and Joachim Splichal have been the most influential. I was a line cook at Jason's first chef job, and he really showed me what good, honest and soulful food is in a fine-dining setting. Joachim's food is just so direct and honest, and he taught me a lot.
8265 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 746-5130, www.terrinela.com.