'Top Chef' Contestant Brian Huskey On 'Food Porn,' Late Night L.A. Eats, and More
The 11th season of Bravo's enduring culinary competition hit Top Chef debuts October 2, and this time the "cheftestants" are braving the heat of the kitchen in vibrant New Orleans. As viewers know, the grueling cooking challenges test the mettle of the food world upstarts, and despite the locale, it won't just be all about letting the bon temps roulez.
Among those vying for the title this time around is Pasadena native Brian Huskey, who works in the kitchens of L.A.'s popular nouveau Peruvian eateries Paiche, Mo-Chica, and Picca, under the supervision of acclaimed chef Ricardo Zarate.
We checked in with Huskey to find out how he was inspired by New Orleans, and how to eat like a chef late at night in L.A.
Huskey's official Top Chef photo (Bravo)
Did you do anything in particular to prepare for being a "cheftestant" No, I didn't do anything in particular to prepare for being a "cheftestant." Cooking for the judges and competing against 18 talented chefs was a very humbling experience. I guess the last 10 years has been my preparation for "Top Chef."
How does the kitchen at Paiche compare to the "Top Chef" kitchen?
We have a beautiful open kitchen at Paiche; my favorite station being the custom Robata, however the "Top Chef" kitchen had quite the equipment, space, and tools. Many memories in both kitchens!
Since TC11 is in New Orleans, did you bring home an affection for any new ingredients, dishes, or techniques you worked with there?
I noticed I've cooked a few Okra dishes at home for my girlfriend and roommate since I've been back. I've also been playing around with the pressure cooker which I had never used until competing on "Top Chef" and have since experimented with Liquid Nitrogen after having had access to the largest tank i've ever seen in the TC kitchen.
TV shows like "Top Chef" and the online popularity of "food porn" on social media has really enhanced people's experiences when it comes to cooking and eating. What do you think of this heightened visual and virtual aspect to the world of food?
The heightened visual and virtual aspect to the world of food is DEFINITELY exciting. It's a modern example of how food is the most universal language. Many people are intimidated to cook a meal, however they're quick to take "food porn" pictures and share their food experience on social media, which I think is fantastic. If you cant eat it might as well see it. I, too, have recently upped my social media game. I started a Facebook fan page and am posting something just about everyday. I'll throw up a quick and easy recipe, a pic of my food from an event, last night's dinner, and even reviews and shootouts of my fave ingredients.
We know chefs work long, hard, and late night hours. So tell us: Where are the best places to go in L.A. for food and drink in the wee hours?
Since I live in Downtown, after work I am generally traveling in the direction of west to east; therefore, my favorite grub and drink spots in the wee hours are:
- Keun Ga Ma for korean soups/stews, but my favorite is the Korean pork neck potato soup. 3498 West 8th st (24 hours)
- BCD Tofu House. 3575 Wilshire (24 hours)
- Hae Jang Chon for AYCE KBBQ. 6th and serrano (2 am)
- OB Bear Pub. 3002 West 7th (2 am)
- EL Chato taco truck. Olympic and La Brea (3am weekends)
- El Atacor #11. 2622 North Figueroa (4 am)
- Ruen Pair. 5257 Hollywood blvd (3am)
- Chapman Pizzeria. 223 West 8th st (2 am)
- Pizzanista in Downtown...if you can get there before midnight
Huskey shared with us one of his social media recipes, so get cooking!
Top Chef 11 airs Wednesday nights on Bravo.