6/19/2013 01:08:00 PM

One Bel-Air Night With Chang, Choi and Puck (and Favreau!)

Chang, Puck and Choi
Last night three powerhouses convened behind the stoves at the Hotel Bel-Air: Roy Choi, David Chang and Wolfgang Puck, all three cooking a pretty spectacular meal at Puck's restaurant hidden in the hills. Each did a couple of dishes that represented their individual styles infused with California flavor, all of it completely wowed.

About 140 fans were spread throughout the indoor/outdoor space for the $190-a-head dinner, enjoying things like Japanese toro sashimi ponzo (Puck), crisp cornish game hen with the fiery red kochujang and herb salad with fish vinaigrette (Choi), and beef shortribs with burnt eggplant, garlic scape and pickled peaches (Chang). Picking the best dish would be like picking a favorite child, but if we have to, it's a tie between Choi's Santa Barbara spot prawn swimming in a pungent sauce with uni and salmon roe, and Chang's fantastic chewy rice cakes with spicy pork sausage and Chinese broccoli. Amazing how the wine pairings worked with everything, too.

But one of our favorite moments was when we realized that actor/director Jon Favreau might be in the kitchen since he's been training and trailing Choi as research for his upcoming movie. Sure enough, he was (and he was Tweeting it out all night), and we had a chance to meet him right when he was up to his elbows in spot prawns. He looked and talked every bit of the part, even directing another young cook as to what to do with the pot of prawn heads he just finished cleaning. He said he's been working with Choi for several weeks already, but only after he got a little training with a French instructor on "mother sauces" and other important things upon Choi's recommendation. Although Favreau's been in the Kogi king's restaurants and on the trucks picking up tips for the tentatively titled Chef, which will begin shooting here in LA soon, having Puck on hand to add his expertise on how to properly sear salmon or make an omelet is...so money.


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