Welcome to What’s the Dish, a new series from Life & Thyme that explores the roots of dishes around the world. Join us as we trace ingredients from farm to plate, and learn more about the inspiration chefs turn to when constructing menus. For our first edition, we speak with Andy Doubrava, Executive Chef of Los Angeles’ Rustic Canyon, about his creamed corn with pickled peppers and goat leg confit.
“I want [guests] to feel like they’re eating the food of Southern California, because when it comes down to it, we’re just the extension of the farmers’ hard work,” says Rustic Canyon’s Executive Chef Andy Doubrava. Since taking the helm of Rustic Canyon, which was previously held by Jeremy Fox and Evan Funke, Doubrava has built fluid menus that celebrate hyper-seasonality as well as the relationships he has with producers. Read on as he digs into the inspiration and purveyors behind the creamed corn dish that is currently on the menu at Rustic Canyon.
What’s the dish called?
We don’t give dishes titles per se, but this went on the menu as “creamed corn with pickled peppers and goat leg confit.”
How is the dish prepared?
We make a sauce out of corn cob dashi (a broth made from corn cobs, kombu and smoked tomato), verjus, onion, cultured butter, and a vinegar we make from green tomato juice—all blended together. This gets folded into boiled corn kernels to make our version of creamed corn, which is plated over strips of pickled Cubanelle peppers and goat leg that’s been cured with fennel seeds and cooked slowly in lamb fat. To finish, we sprinkle nigella seeds (they give a slight bitterness to counteract the sweetness of it all) and fennel pollen to help highlight the goat.
Where do you source the ingredients in this dish from?
We wait for corn every year, and only purchase it from one farm: Dwelley Family Farms out of Brentwood [in Northern California]. The peppers come from Beylik Farms, and the goat is the product of one of our newest farming relationships: Marko and Cassidy Alexandrou from Motley Crew Ranch in Santa Barbara County.
I especially love working with Motley Crew Ranch because of how hands-on and informative they are. Marko is always sending updates and always wants to see what we’ve made with his animals. Plus, they’re all pasture-raised and lead happy lives. It’s a really small-scale operation up there.
Why is this dish important to your restaurant?
This dish is important to me for a few reasons. One: it’s easily modified to be vegetarian. Two: it highlights our plating style. It looks like a bowl of corn and the vegetables are in plain sight, but there is more than meets the eye. Three: I have personal relationships with all of the purveyors, including the man [Ian Wright of IW Ceramics] who makes the stoneware bowls for the dish.
What was the concept or inspiration behind creating this dish?
I don’t conceptualize dishes, but rather anticipate the seasons and do my best to highlight the vegetable while it’s around. I have little to no experience with creamed corn, so I knew that’s the direction I was heading for the dish. The plating usually just happens in the moment, and is constantly tweaked and subtly personalized by the cook who’s working the corn station that evening. Our plating guidelines are less rigidly strict and maybe more philosophical than most.
1119 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401