5 questions for chef Luke Reyes of Butchers & Barbers
Luke Reyes is the executive chef at Butchers & Barbers in Hollywood. The Massachusetts native’s first job in the kitchen was under Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass. After a job offer from Ilan Hall of the Gorbals, Reyes moved to Los Angeles to work as his chef de cuisine at that now-closed downtown restaurant. He also logged time at the Tasting Kitchen in Venice before opening the Corner Door in Culver City.
You may also recognize Reyes from the Food Network’s “Chopped” show. He won his episode by turning canned chicken, lime gelatin and imitation crab meat into $10,000 dishes. At Butchers & Barbers, Reyes, who is a fan of whole-beast butchering, is developing a charcuterie program. Expect a 36-ounce dry-aged rib-eye, an 18-ounce bone-in pork chop, a 10-ounce grilled hanger steak and more.
What is coming up next on your menu? As the weather is getting colder, we’re turning to heartier dishes. We have an orzo salad with roasted Brussels sprouts, apples, currants and our house-made ricotta. We are working on some nice braises too. We have a lamb shank going on the menu next week. In general, we’re turning toward warm, hearty, comforting dishes.
Latest ingredient obsession? Various fish eggs. We’re curing roe right now and working on making our own botargo in-house. We also use trout roe on our roasted squash and persimmon dish. I love that it adds a layer of salt as well as a nice texture, and an ocean flavor that complements the creaminess of the burrata.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again, and what do you order? I’m obsessed with Korean barbecue. I somehow find myself going to Korean barbecue four times a week.
The last cookbook you read, and what inspired you to pick it up? “Edible Selby,” [by photographer Todd Selby]. I got it as a gift from Mark Houston, one of the owners of Butcher & Barbers. It’s great to see an amazing diversity of international restaurants and intimate pictures of their passion and their craft. For me, it’s not just about the food but also about how they got to that dish, their thought process and inspiration.
What chef has most influenced you? April Bloomfield. I think she is brilliant. I’ve been to every one of her spaces, and every time I’ve had fantastic meals. I watched her in [the television show] “Mind of a Chef” and was blown away. There is a lot to learn from the way she looks at food and ingredients. It inspires me.
6531 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 461-1464, butchersandbarbers.com.
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