Reed Herrick is executive chef at DTLA Cheese, the neighborhood downtown cheese shop in Grand Central Market. Herrick, born and raised in Minneapolis, started working when he was 12 at a neighbor's restaurant as a dishwasher and busboy. By 15 he was a prep cook, working his way up to line cook at the fast-paced Original Pancake House. While working his way through art school in San Francisco as a sous-chef at a jazz club, he decided to pursue cooking full time. Herrick worked with Cindy Pawlcyn in the Napa Valley and opened Azzurro Pizzeria with Michael Gyetvan, then Norman Rose Tavern. But he shifted gears and moved to Southern California when he met and fell in love with Lydia Clarke, who with her sister Marnie opened the Cheese Cave in Claremont. Now he and the Clarkes are running DTLA Cheese, where his menu includes cheesy potatoes with Idiazabal and romesco, roasted beets with apples and Basque cheese, and a sandwich layered with Hobbs ham, butter and Fromager d'Affinois.
What's coming up next on your menu?
Right now is easy season.... Heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, melons, a lot of fun stuff.
Latest ingredient obsession?
I think it's safe to say being a cheese shop that cheese would be an obsession. I'm partial to Basque sheep cheese, Abbaye de Belloc is a favorite for sure.
What restaurant do you go to again and again?
Badmaash. Arjun, Nakul, Pawan and the crew are spectacular, and there's not a miss on the menu. The chana masala is close to the top of my list, though.
Favorite kitchen soundtrack?
Hall & Oates is in heavy rotation along with a little Tesla.
Favorite day off away from the kitchen?
Going to the movies ... maybe a little whiskey on the side.
DTLA Cheese, 317 Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 290-3060, www.dtlacheese.com.