Thursday, January 13, 2011

Behind the Curtain at The Bazaar by Jose Andres: Exclusive Q&A with Executive Chef Jorge Chicas

Jose's Combination
The Bazaar by Jose Andres, located in the upscale SLS Hotel, is a sprawling maze of bars, restaurants, a patisserie, their private tasting room Saam, and even a museum of oddities. They also happen to serve some of the best -- and most inventive -- food in Los Angeles. Eater LA recently named The Bazaar by Jose Andres as one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles.

Last week, I had the opportunity to dine at Saam, the private tasting room at The Bazaar, where I noshed on over twenty courses paired with wines, dessert wines, and even sake. The food far surpassed my already lofty expectations, and now ranks as one of the best meals of my life (up there with Alinea, among other restaurants).

House-Cured Veal Pastrami
Favorite courses included "Jose's Combination," a dish made from Jose's two favorite things: jamon iberico and caviar (this guys knows how to chow down!). To ingest, you wrap the jamon around the caviar, making it into a decadent little burrito. I also loved the "Pastrami Saul," which consists of sous vide egg yolk stuffed inside a French fry and wrapped with house-cured veal pastrami, the best pastrami I've ever tasted.

Hot & Cold Foie Soup with Corn
The "Hot & Cold Foie Soup with Corn" was also stunning and rich, making me think of a foie gras latte with corn-flavored whipped cream, all topped with crunchy corn nuts.

Overseeing this entire operation is Executive Chef Jorge Chicas, who has worked with Chef Jose Andres for ten years. In this exclusive Q&A, he talks to Domestic Divas about the inspiration behind opening the tasting room, what's unique about the dining experience, and his favorite dishes at Saam.


Q&A with Executive Chef Jorge Chicas:

Domestic Divas: How long have your worked with Chef Jose Andres?

Chef Chicas: I have worked with chef Andres for 10 years.

Domestic Divas: What was the inspiration behind opening the Saam tasting room?

Chef Chicas: It follows a very similar concept Jose has in Washington DC, Mini Bar, where Jose's Team gets to create and develop new dishes and work on new cooking techniques. [We wanted to] develop an experience of all senses. 

Domestic Divas: What is unique about the dining experience at Saam?

Chef Chicas: [You can] experience new cooking techniques and experience a special and unique dining experience, following the model of El Bulli in Spain.

Philly Cheesesteak
Domestic Divas: How many courses are included in the Saam tasting menu? Do you have any personal favorites?

Chef Chicas: 19 courses plus 2 desserts. My favorite dishes are Olive Oil Bonbon, Linguini with Clams, Philly Cheesesteak.

Domestic Divas: I've heard that you offer a special cocktail pairing with the Saam
tasting menu. What kind of cocktails do you pair with the food?

Chef Chicas: We do a welcome cocktail from the chef, a small cocktail that is done by the chefs, we are right now doing the Golden boy. We change every so often.

Domestic Divas: Are there any new dishes on the horizon, either for Saam or The Bazaar?

Chef Chicas: We are always working on developing new dishes, and I would rather not comment of anything just yet, as Jose is the one who decides which dishes go in and which ones need work, the team of chefs are always in the process of developing and creating new and interesting dishes that would fit the concept.

The Bazaar by Jose Andres
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90048
(310) 246-5555 

Click here to view complete photo gallery!


  1. Lucky you! I have seen Jose on numerous shows and admire his creativity. He has a restaurant in Washington DC that I am dying to go to for the tasting menu and wine!

  2. That looks amazing! Nice article/interview.