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Chef of the Moment: Alma's Ari Taymor, transforming beets into emotions

Ari Taymor is co-owner of downtown boîte Alma, a minimalist venue for what the 27-year-old chef calls “personal cooking, based on memories, emotions or experiences.” Before turning his pop-up dinners into a full-fledged restaurant focusing on produce grown especially for Alma, Taymor worked at flour+water and Bar Tartine in San Francisco, Plate Shop in Sausalito and La Chassagnette in the Camargue region of France. Examples from his menu: English muffin with uni, burrata, caviar and licorice herbs; chicken liver with coffee granola; sunchoke and beef tartare taco; and watermelon and heirloom tomato with black garlic, macadamia nut and epazote.

What’s coming up next on your menu?

Next on our menu is beets, one of my favorite vegetables for the transitional season, as it works with both cooler and warmer weather accompaniments.

Latest ingredient obsession?

Sunflower seeds. Savory, sweet, so versatile, lending earthiness to dishes.

What’s the one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives?

A mortar and pestle. Such an amazing diversity of textures.

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Coconut kale smoothie from Naturewell and pour-over coffee from Intelligentsia, both in Silver Lake.

The last cookbook you read, and what inspired you to pick it up?

“Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry” by Ben Shewry. Such a sense of place, so humble and so talented.

Alma, 952 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 244-1422, www.alma-la.com

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