Dream Guest is a dineLA series that asks chefs and bartenders who they'd most like to see walk into their restaurant or bar, and what they'd serve this special guest.
California native Kris Tominaga met Georgia-born Brian Dunsmoor while working at Joe’s Restaurant in Venice in 2008. After achieving success with Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, the chefs partnered on The Hart and the Hunter at West Hollywood's Palihotel. A leather-bound copy of an Aesop’s Fables book called The Hart and the Hunter inspired their restaurant's name during a stop in New Orleans on a Southern sojourn. The concept is simple, seasonal rustic comfort food that your grandmother would make for you, served up in small, whimsical plates.
Q: If you were to have any guest come into your restaurant who would it be?
Brian: Edna Lewis. She’s the godmother of Southern cuisine. She brought up Scott Peacock, a James Beard Award-winning chef from the Southeast. She’s a gangster, straight up. You should read her books – The Gift of Southern Cooking – has whole menus from different seasons. I think she’s just influenced a lot of people that have really influenced me.
Kris: It’s really hard. There are a lot of chefs I would like to cook for. I wish that my mentors from Boston would come out to LA and see what I’ve done. The person who I most want to cook for right now is my grandma. If she could come in and see the restaurant, just because she’s really into food, she would be stoked. If I was to look at what I’m cooking now and the kind of food I’m really into, it’s indirectly influenced by her. We’re not directly cooking her dishes but the kind of food that she likes and her influences on my palette is where the inspiration comes from.
Q: Brian, what would you want to make for Edna Lewis?
Brian: I’d just like to do a big family-style spread with a dozen people or so, fill this whole table up with bowls of food and pass plates; it’s my favorite way to eat. I’m trying to wrap my head around some way to do family-style dinners like they do in the South in a restaurant.
Q: Kris, what would you want to make for your grandma?
Kris: She would like the whole thing. But what she would LOVE is the pastries. Just to see that there is apple pie influenced a little bit by her, because she was really into the cheddar thing, the cheddar and apple pie. That’s something I grew up with. At every major family event, there was apple pie, and she would always bring out cheddar.