David Coleman is chef of Michael's on Naples, the Long Beach Italian restaurant with the pizza that draws raves. Coleman grew up helping his mom cook dinner for his father and eight brothers and sisters — big meals that encouraged him to enroll at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. (In his spare time, he taught himself how to brew beer and cure meat.) He worked in New York, San Francisco and Orange County before applying his California approach to Michael's Italian menu: fennel sausage made with locally raised meat and vegetables from Long Beach's Farm Lot 59, for example. Now he's got a new restaurant in the works.
What's coming up next on your menu?
Michael's Restaurant Group is currently working on a steakhouse, Chianina, slated for a December opening in Long Beach. We recently returned from a trip to Washington state, where we met with the main local Chianina beef rancher. We purchased two bulls and five calves that we are currently raising in Utah. We will slaughter the calves in the spring and maintain the bulls for future breeding of 100% Chianina beef. This is exciting because, compared with domestic beef, Chianina has less fat, less cholesterol and more flavor. We believe it is a style of beef that will be seen more and more across the market. As far as Michael's on Naples, white truffle season is coming up, and I'm looking forward to using them in the short window that they're available.
Latest ingredient obsession?
It almost changes weekly. Right now, the beautiful micro-greens that are being especially grown for us from Farm Lot 59 right in Long Beach.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can't live without, other than your knives?
Butcher's twine. We break down so many whole animals it's always in short supply.
Favorite kitchen soundtrack?
Lately it's been a lot of Nick Cave.
Your favorite day off away from the kitchen is ...
Any time spent with my 6-year-old son. Lego building is generally involved.
Michael's on Naples, 5620 E. 2nd St., Long Beach, (562) 439-7080, www.michaelsonnaples.com