To Augment the Concept Behind Chef Dana Slatkin’s New Restaurant and Cooking School, Interior Designer Wendy Haworth Incorporated Viking Appliances.
Opened just 8 days before the stay-at-home orders, Violet Bistro Owner/Chef Dana Slatkin didn’t waste any time transitioning her popular cooking classes from the culinary studio upstairs and onto the Zoom platform. We met up with her there for a saucy Violet Chez Vous cooking class co-hosted by Viking and Wendy Haworth.
Chef Dana now delivers the raw ingredients to each attendee’s home before virtually instructing on how to cook an incredible meal like one they could expect from the new Violet Bistro. The decadent menu, which starred pan-fried salmon, and finished with a gooey chocolate desert, was culled from Violet, her new French Bistro in Westwood.
The former Chinese restaurant has been transformed into a romantic space with an inviting courtyard courtesy of interior designer, Wendy Haworth of Haworth Design Studio. Los Angeles-based Haworth is known for her buoyant hospitality work. The mastermind behind Felix Trattoria, Winsome and the Gracias Madre and Cafe Gratitude restaurants, the thread that winds through all of them is that they are welcoming, warm and visually intriguing. “I’d been wanting Wendy to design a space for me ever since I set foot in Gracias Madre,” says Chef Dana Slatkin. So, when it came time make her dream of owning a restaurant that would also incorporate a cooking school a reality, she immediately tapped Haworth. “My only direction to her was that I didn’t want it to look like anything she’d done before.”
Haworth easily complied with Slatkin’s wishes. Under her direction, Lewis Schoeplein Architects revised the interior, showcasing the structure’s beautiful details and linking the cooking school and the upstairs dining area with the courtyard via a set of stairs.
With the bones of the space in place, Haworth set to work executing Slatkin’s vision. “Dana wanted a classic bistro,” Haworth recalled, “that meant cozy and layered and fun.” The all-day space would need to work as well for breakfast and lunch as it did for dinner. “It would need to be unpretentious and not too fancy and transition well,” Haworth notes.
A tall bar in the main dining area emphasizes its vaulted ceiling. “I like to play with that sort of scale,” says Haworth, “I want you to feel the height of the space.” Rich colors, common to the south of France but unusual in Los Angeles, underline the space’s warmth; chocolate walls, mustard-tinged Provencal prints, rust-banquettes, vanilla whites and dark, carved woods. In the cooking school kitchen, copper pots dangle from a custom pot rack hung from the ceiling on oiled leather straps.
The kitchen’s fixtures would need to complement these antiqued hues. Haworth corralled Russ Diamond of Snyder Diamond to guide Chef Slatkin in picking out the ideal appliances.
“After Dana and Wendy Haworth presented the concept and vision for Violet — a meeting place where the local community could embrace for culinary adventures and where the ambiance and design come together to delight — choosing Viking was a no-brainer,” says Diamond, “Viking has been the innovator in bringing commercial appliance capabilities and design aesthetics into residential kitchens and I knew they would jump at the chance to be involved with this project.”
Chef Slatkin was ecstatic when Diamond presented this idea. “In a world full of uncertainty, Snyder Diamond and Viking have given me a much-needed personal touch along with a good dose of culinary confidence,” she says, “I have been cooking with Viking equipment for 25 years; I count on them for reliable and stylish workhorses. Their appliances are as functional as they are beautiful. Russ Diamond is a visionary and a brilliant business owner who shares Violet’s vision of creating community through cooking. Snyder Diamond and Viking are two brands that get me excited to cook every day!”
Viking’s Maree Glaser steered them towards Viking’s 5 Series line, in one of their New matte colors: Cast Black with all matching appliances. She selected the 60” Freestanding Gas Range w/Built-in Griddle & Grill, the 36” Bottom-Mount Refrigerator and 30” Premiere Built-In Double Wall Ovens to accommodate the needs of an active cooking school which will be hosting classes both on and off-line.
“I thought the black was fun,” says Haworth, “They’re a nice contrast to the space and different.” She adds, “It’s Viking so we were able to showcase the products rather than disguising them with custom millwork. They feel classic and timeless that’s sort of everything in this restaurant.”
Watch the zoom cooking experience below.