A Michelin star chef gets candid about food, wine, travel and family. “Listen in” on our conversation with Chef Christophe Eme of Kass Wine Bar + Restaurant.
Michelin star and world-renowned chef Christophe Eme opened Kass Wine Bar & Restaurant on La Brea Boulevard, just off of Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile, last year to acclaimed reviews. The intimate, 40-seat dining room and wine bar was the next step in the award-winning career for this chef (who one might recognize as a challenger from Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”).
In the Beginning for Chef Christophe
After Chef Christophe apprenticed and worked at many prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants in France—including Auberge des Templiers, Auberge de I’Eridan and Le Taillevent—he set off for Los Angeles as the executive chef of L’Orangerie. Later in 2005, he opened haute cuisine Ortolan on West Third Street, for which he was named one of the “10 Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine.
Kass Wine Bar + Restaurant
The Kass menu is rich with appetizer, salad and entree selections. Due to that we sampled the grilled octopus, tuna sashimi and scrambled eggs with caviar (which is served in the egg shell under a silver dome) before dining on braised beef cheeks with polenta and John Dory with risotto and baby clams—both underlining the chef’s interpretation while staying true to his French cuisine roots. The kitchen is open for viewing and you can see Chef Christophe go into action with his team behind the line, with every plate seen as a display of art.
We had a chance to sit down and find out more about Chef Christophe and what makes him as magnifique as he is. Below, our conversation with Chef Christophe Eme of Kass Wine Bar & Restaurant.
Chef Christophe Background
Chef Eric Where did you grow up?
Chef Christophe Loire, France.
Chef Eric When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
Chef Christophe Age 16.
Chef Eric What is your favorite food memory?
Chef Christophe During the holidays, I remember having those great meals at Easter and Christmas. I have fond memories of the roasted duck and chicken along with white asparagus.
Chef Eric Where were you trained?
Chef Christophe I did my apprenticeship for 10 years at a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Paris, France.
In the Kitchen
Chef Eric What is your favorite piece of kitchen equipment or gadget?
Chef Christophe I have these Japanese hibachi grills, which I love to use. I have incorporated them into my menu design and they are delivered to the table with an array of foods for the guest to pick from.
Chef Eric Is there one dish that sums up your style of cooking?
Chef Christophe Cooking with various “jus,” having light selections and using organic, fresh ingredients.
Chef Eric Who in the food world do you most admire?
Chef Christophe Chef Jean Claude Veyrat, a chef at 3-Star Michelin restaurant Le Taillevent in Paris, France.
Chef Eric What are some of your favorite foods to cook with?
Chef Christophe I love working with fresh mushrooms such as morels and also love using white asparagus.
Chef Eric Do you have a favorite wine?
Chef Christophe I love all wines from Burgundy.
Now in L.A. and the Future
Chef Eric What do you like to eat when you’re at home?
Chef Christophe My wife [actress Jeri Ryan] cooks great food when I am home. I enjoy all types of fresh ingredients and salads.
Chef Eric Are there any foods you just don’t like?
Chef Christophe The one ingredient I don’t care to use is oysters; however, due to their popularity, I do have them on the menu.
Chef Eric Where do you see yourself in five years?
Chef Christophe I would love to have four or five restaurants.
Chef Eric What do you do for fun?
Chef Christophe I love being out in the fresh air hiking and spending time with my wife and daughter.
Chef Eric Where would you like to visit anywhere in the world?
Chef Christophe Machu Picchu, Peru.
Chef Eric What do you most love about your job?
Chef Christophe I love meeting with the guests when they come in to enjoy my food.
Chef Eric One last question. What’s your “Last Supper” meal? Or your “Death Row” meal, as Anthony Bourdain put it.
Chef Christophe I would love to enjoy it with my wife and my daughter. It would for sure start with a good French Champagne, followed with caviar and end with chocolate.
One note: We went to Kass on a Sunday evening. When we arrived at 6 p.m., we were the first in the dining room but within 45 minutes every seat in the house was full. Hopefully you will also experience the magic, as we did, and plan, as we do, not to make it a one-time visit. And, as we say in Hollywood, that’s a wrap!