The legendary chef answers the question…What did you eat today, Jeremiah Tower?
By the time we arrived at our host’s Hollywood Hills house, the rose-tinted mountains across the valley were turning to a deep magenta and the coyotes were howling above us. They stopped when we pushed the button on the funicular up to the famous Chemosphere designed by John Lautner where we were staying. Parched after a long flight from Merida, I looked in the refrigerator and first saw a package labeled “La Quercia.” After a glass of champagne and not expecting much, I knifed it open along the side that said, “Prosciutto Americano handcrafted in Iowa.” Sighs of surprised pleasure escaped my lips as the suave pig fat was sucked in. “Best thing that ever came out of Iowa other than Richard Olney,” I said to my fellow guest, Jorge Pardo. He is doing the design on my new book and we were in Los Angeles to talk to the publisher, whose house was down at the other end of our steps.
Business was at hand, but first we had to eat. And did for three days. First to Son of a Gun (perfect raw scallops sauced in various Asian ways) and Animal, then a lunch at Matsuhisa with the owners of the previous two–and even Starbucks on the way back from visiting our host’s 400-acre Malibu ranch to see its first landscaping. After the ranch we visited a Malibu coast house–an expenditure now approaching $100 million and not yet finished–before spending a couple of hours with David Hockney at his studio to see his film documenting his San Francisco show. Quite a day, so nothing for it but to try and match its stunning-ness and head for some Omakase at Kiyokawa restaurant on Robertson. Entrusting the chef with our choices kept the day going and then some. As I slipped a slice of fresh, wild, winter yellowtail or buri into my mouth, memories of the silken Iowan pig fat came to mind, soon washed away with chilled sake that made me think about cooking French-style scrambled eggs finished at the last moment with some sea urchin gonads and served in the scooped out shell. “Right,” was the opinion of the people around the table, “stay another day. Lunch tomorrow.” Chill the champagne, I said, and you have me. // Jeremiah Tower