Creole Grilled Cheese & Gluten Free Soul Food: Chef’s Night Out in LA with My Two Cents

Creole Grilled Cheese & Gluten Free Soul Food: Chef’s Night Out in LA with My Two Cents

How could you put
MSG in a branzino? It’s powder form. It looks like cocaine. What is cocaine? Because no one in the
restaurant industry knows anything about cocaine. I’m chef Alisa Reynolds, owner of My Two Cents in
Los Angeles, California. Growing up, food was
pretty much traditional. We had pork chops
on Thursdays, meatloafs on Wednesday. My uncles, everybody
got diabetes, and this all this stuff Best small charcoal grill
around me, so I started thinking about
health in America. I started cultivating
these ideas of evolved nostalgia. Happy food, you know,
belly food. Like, rooted
in tradition. Rooted in that part of your belly
that makes you happy. But then lightening it up
with modern techniques. You know,
conscious comfort food. What if there’s a vegan
hipster that wants to eat with their grandmother
from the south? Where can they go and
eat together, you know? What if there was a
person with celiacs that could have fried chicken
and mac and cheese? This is brown rice and
kewon noodle. Gluten-free cheese sauce. I think becoming
a chef decided me. I was working
in production. I didn’t feel
the passion in it. And I’m really passionate
about cooking. So a friend of mine said,
hey, my dad’s a chef. You should give him a
call see what he thinks. I called him up. I said hey, I’m thinking
about becoming a chef. He’s like,
you’re too old, you’re black,
you’re a woman. I wouldn’t do it. So I said, you know what. Fuck that,
I’m gonna do it. He is like,
I don’t wanna train you, you can call my
friend David Burk. So I called
Chef David Burk up, and he said come down. I had no idea that his
kitchen was like one of the top kitchens
in New York. He was just a name. And once I went to
train with him, my whole perspective of
food completely changed. Shrimp and grits. It’s more of an east
coast thing. So I was like, I wanna do something
that brings the east to the west as far as
like a soul food or a country dish. But I wanna spin it off
with a beurre monte, which is a French
butter sauce, and add the traditional Creole
sauce, which is peppers and all this kinda
goodness mixed in stew. The difference is I made
my creole sauce vegan and I made my grits
gluten-free. I used to cook for celebrities such
as Ben Stiller, Common, Barack Obama,
so many people. I would imagine it’s
like doing their hair. You become the shoulder
that they cry on. You become their mother, their binky, where are
you, my stomach hurts, you have to come
to France with me, I can’t eat
the food anymore. It becomes a little
bit of that. It’s great to feel
needed, believe me. But the celebrities would
find out which one and they would like, why do
you have to go to him? And why do you,
oh she’s feeding you? So it became this whole
thing and it’s like, it felt like I had
lovers without the sex. My sister is a great, huge part of
this restaurant. She does all of
the desserts, and I took a lot of the,
the traditional things from a soul food
perspective from her, because she was
the cook of the family. And when I started to
develop this idea and share it with her,
she was like, well what is this gonna
be, a vegan restaurant? She thought that,
just like everybody else, if it’s vegan it
tastes gross. When I opened this
restaurant I didn’t wanna do no stamping
gluten-free and vegan all over the place. Doing the opposite of
what people would think I should do, especially
if I have all this vegan stuff on the menu. But I think the less
you tell people and the more they get
into the product and the vibe that
you’re giving, they’re more willing to
like, be surprised by it. Gregorio, this is
my right hand. And he cooks like
an old black lady now. My guy. I’m constantly, constantly proving
myself as a woman chef, as a woman boss,
as a woman, period. Even hiring men,
it’s a problem. I hire cooks, they try to
test me the first week. Then I’m like,
I’ll cut you. And they’re like okay,
yes chef. I never leave
my restaurant. I cook every day,
both shifts. If you want to
be a chef and own your restaurant
it’s not for any punk bitches for
real. Hey! Mayasha Long is one
of my best friends. She’s always been a
fashion guru and a diva. Steven is super creative. He helped me so
much in this restaurant, he’s a creative director. You guys want
anything before you-. Some gries. Can we get gries for
the road? Bye you guys. Bye my baby. I’ll be back. Living in New York there
was always something about a small restaurant
in a neighborhood, it kind of brought
community together. And I love places
that feel like home to people that
live around them. That’s why I’m
going to Canelé. It feels like home. Hello Chef, how are you? Good to see you. Thanks for coming. I hope you have
a good dinner. Chef Corina and I go back before both
of us had restaurants. She does so much great
work with that feel of nostalgia, but
in a French technique. My name is Corina Weibel
and I’m the chef and owner of Canelé
restaurant in Atwater Village. Canelé is a neighborhood
restaurant. It’s 100% farmers
market driven and it’s Mediterranean
influenced. I feel like it’s
guerrilla open restaurant, because we
got this restaurant, we didn’t have any money
and we just opened it up, we just went with
what we had. And our neighbors, they’ve been
supporting us for eight years now
since we opened, and everybody knows
each other, because they’ve been
coming here for such a long time. Doesn’t it feel
like you’re in somebody’s home? It’s special. Open kitchen,
small neighborhood. I love LA for
its pockets, right? What, do you work for
the city? Give this motherfucker
the drink menu. Sorry. Popping bottles. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. The clams were in a
wonderful saffron broth. I love the contrast
within the saffron and the fennel. Why don’t you
like mayonnaise? It reminds her of come. I prefer come
to mayonnaise. Who doesn’t? It reminds her
of the lack of. Oh yeah. The persimmon salad
knocked me out. The salad’s beautiful. The persimmons,
the pomegranate, I love the wintery-ness
of the salad but its still very
California. Yeah.
The chicken liver pate, it tasted like it
was in a smoker and it was so good. But I think the star
of the night was the salted branzino. It was cooked perfectly. I mean, it really Best Gas Charcoal Smoker Grill Combo
made you feel like you were somewhere else. This is like having
a salt scrub at the spa. Are you gonna cut it, cuz I don’t like
the eyeballs. I love the eyeballs. I eat at least eight to
ten trout eyeballs a day. At least one. They’re full of protein. I’d like to see
the statistics on that. Oh, that’s pretty. It was just clean. And most of the time
what I get off on is, like, simply delicious. The delicacy
is the cheeks. Look how little
this face is. That female is
a pretty fish. It’s delicious. You should have the head. No.
Yeah, send me home. I’m going home early,
don’t you worry. The rosé, the food,
I’m feeling amazing. Cheers, to Canelé,
to Corina, the chef. Thank you chef. Thank you. So we’re like,
headed to have tacos and hopefully get buzzed. We have to stop and
feed my baby. Did you feed him
in the morning? Yes.
He’s fine. He’s fine. This place we’re going
to now, Escuela’s, a friend of mine,
Steve, owns. And your dog, during this
time, is probably going to lay in different areas
of your home, stare at the front door, and wait
for you to come home. Please don’t say that. That’s so mean. That’s what dogs do. What do you think
he’s doing? On the computer. Yeah. Surfing porn. Yeah.
Once again, so he’s looking at the same
sites I’m looking at. Really? Absolutely, I
love gay porn. I know. You like gay porn? Oh I got some good
ones for you. I know Steven
is the best. When we got to
Escuela last night, I was excited. His place was packed and
I was ready to, like, tear in. I just love the design
and how he did everything inside of his restaurant
just like I did. Steve is an old
friend of mine. He grew up in his
family’s restaurant where they made traditional
Mexican cuisine. He’s kinda taken that and spun it all
the way around. There he is! Happy birthday,. Thank you.
Happy belated birthday. Thank you so much. Escuela is in the house. Is in the house. Escuela is the house. It is the house exactly. The next thing you know we’ve got a platter
of tacos. And I was really excited,
so we just dug in. We had prosciutto tacos,
shrimp tacos, pork chop tacos, we had langostino with
grilled pineapple tacos. Oh that one’s nice with
that grilled pineapple. Mm.
My favorite would be the branzino taco. As if I needed more
branzino that night. But in a taco form
it was amazing. Mm.
I think we killed this one. Tacos, check. To Escuela. Second down, guys. When we leaved Escuela,
Steven’s gonna burst if he doesn’t have
a real cocktail. All right, let’s drink. We were in the shot
kind of mood. Shot, shot, shot, shot,
shot, shot, shot, shot. I’m like,
let’s head to Bar Stella. Bar Stella’s one of
the sexiest bars in LA. The owner of Cafe Stella
is a friend of mine, Gareth Cantner. This is the last
text that Gareth sent me two days ago. Tonight at the bar,
Brazilian carnival, bitches. Okay. I can’t wait to get in
here and get me a drink. He has this amazing
cocktail that I love that’s champagne and St. Germain mix with
a lemon topping. I had a few. That’s nice and sweet. That’s nice and light. Yeah.
Mayasha. Okay. It’s time for bar talk. Let’s talk about
your titties. Oh, okay. How are they? Fantastic. And let’s talk
about your outfit. What are your sneakers,
Vans? How dare you? Let’s toast. To looking good. To designer. To staying up late. I’m ready to get charged
up on my two cents. Another cigarette and
then we’ll leave. Sorry, mom. Are you good with
your whisky? You want another shot? Are we doing shots? I’ll do a shot. This is to a very
good food tour in LA. Yes.
With good friends. Yes.
Good food. Yes. New and old places. Absolutely. Good night. Good night. Good night.
But then we gotta go make some snacks. Make some snacks. Let’s get the snacks in. Okay, let’s get in. Whew. Bye, Bar Stella. At this point we
need balance. That was good,
that last shot, like, gave me some energy. Now I need something
to soak it up. We’re drinking more. Okay.
Let’s do it. And more and
more and more. Okay, settle down. Watch this. I’m really happy
about the night and the places I chose. Because they kind of
feel dear to the heart. Nothing was fancy. Everything was perfect. Everything was authentic. The food was great.
I liked it. It was great.
The hidden gems and they’re staples of
their neighborhood. They have this modern
nostalgic feel. And I think it comes from
a real love for food. Hey, guys. We are close. We’re close. I’m feeling
My Two Cents-ish. Welcome! Welcome! Hey! I’m, like,
ready to see my friends. Ready to embrace. And just everybody
is like, yes. Let’s go. One of my cooks
was there. Daven. Just do what you can do. Cornmeal. Yeah.
He’s high most of the time so munchies is like
one of his specialties. I’m feeling like a fried
shrimp grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a simple thing that
you can do completely inebriated, middle of
the night, buzzed. At some point I think I
added bacon to my shrimp, which was a nice touch. Shit’s getting real. Midnight snack for
the gods. The drunk gods. Who’s down for
fried shrimp, grilled cheese
sandwiches? Hey! I wanna thank everybody. My closest
compadres here. Coming out, supporting,
having late night munchies in the middle
of the night with me. Thank you guys so much. Cheers! Hey! My night out was the best
night I’ve had in two years. Fun, happiness, love,
you couldn’t ask for anything more. I love you guys. I love you too. Thanks for eating
a hole in LA with me. I think food is the best
thing that brings people together, I want to
spread My Two Cents love all over the world. What I do is about
people, love, the ability to inspire
people through your food, to make them happy,
to be a mood changer is completely why I’m
in this business, why I cook,
it’s all about love.