5 Questions for Charlie Parker
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Charlie Parker is executive chef of Freddy Smalls, the West L.A. newcomer on Pico Boulevard. Parker grew up in northern California and most recently was chef at Daniel Patterson’s Plum in Oakland. He’s also worked at Ubuntu in Napa with Jeremy Fox, who consulted at Freddy Smalls, and at Manresa in Los Gatos. His Freddy Smalls menu features pristine small plates to go with a focused cocktail list, inluding: house-made charcuterie such as rabbit mortadella and oxtail terrine; bacon gougeres; flash-grilled steak tartare; and the ‘new school’ chicken parm, ‘a West Pico remix.’
Latest ingredient obsession? Fermented vegetables. They’re really rich in nutrients, fiber and are just overall really good for your digestion. Kohlrabi is one of my top favorites, but of course you can ferment all kinds of other vegetables.
Favorite kitchen soundtrack? I mix it up, but right now it’s all about ‘The Low End Theory’ by Tribe Called Quest.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? It has to be the grill; it just affords so many options for different dishes.
What’s your favorite breakfast? Not for the faint of heart –- it’s a fried egg sandwich with cilantro slaw, bacon, crisp pig ears and romesco sauce. We serve this on the late-night menu at Freddy’s. Oh, and a Bloody Mary with extra horseradish!
What chef has most influenced you? David Kinch. His singular style of American cooking, his ingredient-driven, modern technique are an inspiration. I worked at his restaurant, Manresa, in Los Gatos, and it is still one of my favorite places to dine as well.
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-- Betty Hallock