Our conversation with La Creperie Cafe's resident chef continues, as he dishes about being his own mechanic and crafting the perfect crepe. To catch up on part one, click here. If you're a dessert fan, you won't want to miss Thursday's installment.
Hardest lesson you've learned:
Having to learn how to fix things. Coming from the hotel industry, we always had an engineer on hand when something broke in the kitchen. That's not the case now.
Who's your hero, culinary or otherwise?
My dad and my grandmother, for always being there for me. You guys rock.
What would your last meal on Earth be?
My grandmother's dun bao ta mien. It's a Burmese rice dish with chicken and green curry, and I'm probably butchering the name. Also, the beef lo mein at Wonton House in San Francisco.
Tell us about your food-service-industry background.
I've worked at the Montage in Laguna Beach, Four Seasons in Newport Beach and Aubergine in Newport Beach.
What's the secret to making a perfect crepe?
Finding the perfect ratio of milk, butter and flour. But being able to make the crepe to order is probably the most important factor.
How did you choose between having more tables vs. a piano when you moved into your larger space in Belmont Shore?
We wanted to offer our customers live music, even it it meant losing a few seats here and there.
Biggest challenge in opening a second Long Beach location:
Timing. We were working on two separate projects at the same time. [He's referring to the launch of the Chino Hills location in April.]
Name your favorite sweet and savory crepes.
For sweet, the Red Velvet Crepe because it's good and something different. We take red-velvet cake, macerated strawberries and cream-cheese frosting and wrap it all inside a strawberry crepe. For savory, the Dipollo — which is chicken, mushrooms and a sherry cream sauce — is pure comfort food to me.
What dish would you tell newcomers to La Creperie Cafe to try first?
The Crepe Carbonara. It's a classic and a favorite at our Belmont Shore location.
What would you be doing if you weren't in the business?
I'd probably be back behind a desk, working with computers.
What advice do you have for those who might be thinking about a career in food?
Try it out first. Culinary schools are getting more and more expensive, and honestly, a lot of what you learn there can be easily attained by reading books and working for the right chefs.
What do you see yourself doing in five years? Ten years?
I'd like to own a restaurant of my own.