My LA: Chef Kat Turner of Highly Likely

We love every corner of Los Angeles and have been fascinated by all that’s been happening in the West Adams historic district, which LA Weekly recently dubbed “LA’s new gallery row.” One of the most exciting new ventures is Highly Likely (4310 W. Jefferson Blvd.) a cool Masa Klein-designed cafe with Chef Kat Turner working her magic in the kitchen. After years as a private chef (for lots of music clients, including Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins), Kat has focused on creating a menu that melds her Wisconsin upbringing and love of comfort food with the many years she spent traveling the globe, picking up all sorts of techniques and flavors — Japanese, Scandinavian, North African. All of those experiences have informed Highly Likely’s creative, sustainable fare, in what Kat calls “California modern with a global influence—nourishing, familiar dishes with a twist.” She’s excited to be part of the area’s regeneration and to bring something new and healthy that will complement other new neighbors (like Lindstrom Rugs), while being respectful of the neighborhood’s history and culture. We’re thrilled to feature Kat on this special “foodie edition” of our monthly My LA column. She even shared one of her favorite recipes—a spicy Middle Eastern sauce to add a little zing to your holiday parties this year.

Food-Focused Shopping

There is a fantastic kitchen wares and cookbook shop here in LA called Now Serving that always sparks my inspiration with their incredible selection of books and products, from new to rare vintage. They carry my absolute favorite fermentation crocks from Santa Fe-based Mudslide Stoneware—they’re gorgeous and I use to make all the hot sauce for the cafe.

Kitchen Must-Haves

1. Global 8-inch Classic Chef's Knife, one of the only knives I ever use.

2. My thin offset spatula.

3. A good, comfortable apron. I have a few from Hedley & Bennett that I've really abused and they just keep getting better.

4. Toasted sesame seeds are a great way to add a nutty pop to both savory and sweet dishes.

5. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet. It doesn't need to be a giant heavy one. I have a small 9-inch that I use for everything from frying eggs, to pineapple upside-down cake, to pounding out chicken paillard.

The Perfect Meal

On a hot day nothing can beat the icy cold naengmyeon noodles from Yuchun, a little spot around the corner from my house in Koreatown. I also love the mole negro, and mezcals at Guelaguetza, another neighborhood institution that I'm lucky enough to be able to walk to. For a night out, I'm currently a little obsessed with Majordomo [above], I think it's David Chang's best spot yet. The bings with chickpea hozon are ommmmmgsoooogoood! And while I don't get out as much as I'd like to, I always try to keep up with what Jessica Koslow is doing over at Sqirl, and what Nyesha Arrington is throwing down at her spot in Santa Monica, Native. Those women are major inspirations.

Feeds to Follow

@ReneRedzepiNoma is an all time Insta-fave. His feed is always interesting and often hilarious.

@Food52 always keeps me inspired with the seasons.

I always check in to see what the specials are at @SuperiorityBurger in NYC's East Village, and the captions are priceless.

@ChefJacquesLaMerde is a non-stop LOL fest for any chef who's ever worked in or aspired to work in fine dining.

Hot Tip

“This is an super-flavorful and versatile sauce of Yemenite descent,” says Kat. “I use it at Highly Likely in our Ubiquitous Avocado Toast but it would easily play well with fish, chicken, eggs, or simply tossed with grilled vegetables.”

Spicy Schug Sauce by Kat Turner

Yield: ½ cup


Ingredients:

14g fresh parsley

14g fresh cilantro

30g serrano chilis, seeded and minced (or leave some seeds in if you like it spicy!)

15g fresh lemon juice

3g garlic, finely minced

1.5g fine himalayan salt

1.5g ground coriander

0.5g ground cardamom

70g untoasted sesame oil

Puree all ingredients together in blender. Store in an airtight jar for up to 4 days in the fridge.

To see more, follow @katturnerwashere and @highlylikelycafe.


Kat’s portrait by Stephanie Plomarity

Now Serving photo by Jakob Layman









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