Top Chef Interviews | Karen and Quinn Hatfield

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Have you always wanted to ask your favorite chef what they love to eat when they're at home? Or perhaps what they think the next big food or dining trend will be? Look no further than this exclusive series of chef interviews by JustLuxe . So read on, as we bring you these answers and more - direct from the culinary masters themselves. Some of the most famous names in the industry, including legendary Michelin-starred chefs, have divulged exciting insider information and personal stories of their journey to the top just for our readers.

Chefs: Quinn and Karen Hatfield
Restaurant: Hatfield's
Location: Los Angeles
Type of Cuisine: Contemporary American
Accolades: One of Bon Appetit's 10 Best Restaurants in America 2010
Awarded One Michelin Star in the 2009 Guide

JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?

Quinn: Food was a big part of my life and my family's life. We were big foodies. I was introduced to a high caliber of restaurants at a young age. It took me a bit longer than Karen to get passionate, but I was encouraged by my family to get into the industry and it was an instant match.

Karen: I grew up going to high-caliber restaurants and cooking was something I have been interested in since I was 10 years old. By the time I got out of high school, I went straight to culinary school and loved it.

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JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?

Quinn: Start young. Being a line cook is a very physically taxing job, so you definitely have an advantage getting into the business at an early age.

JustLuxe: Where do get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?

Karen: Quinn and I love to eat. So I think our plating style is first driven by putting the ingredients together in a way that will eat the best. Beautiful plates of food are also very important, so we are always applying modern stylings into our presentation.

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JustLuxe: What do you predict as the next big trend in cooking and/or the restaurant industry?

Quinn:
Well I think it's no surprise that the restaurant industry is heading in a more casual direction, and I think we will continue to see an increase of global influences. I really think chefs are finding inspiration from all ends of the earth.

JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?

Karen:
Quinn loves spring for the asparagus, morel and peas. He also gets really excited for fall with shelling beans (in early fall) all the different squash, and chestnuts (in later fall). I love summer for the stone fruit, berries and tomatoes.

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JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?

Karen: We were both heavily influenced by our years working in New York. You have the most concentrated amount of super talented people in the country, if not the world. It was the defining point of our careers.

JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?

Quinn:
Technology has given us new ways to track trends within our business, and new ways of marketing. I think that area will be a significant interest over the next few years.

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JustLuxe: What would you say is the current climate of business in the restaurant industry?

Quinn: I think the last four to five years have presented a lot of challenges for a lot of people in the restaurant biz. I think for the ones who have made it, they have become stronger and wiser. Even though people are not spending the money they once were, they still love going to dinner and trying new places. It's up to the restaurateur to provide a great experience (now more than ever) so you can develop new relationships with customers, and keep people coming back.

JustLuxe: What is your favorite dish to prepare at home as opposed to the plate you enjoy preparing in the kitchen?

Quinn: I can't be that specific. In the restaurant things have many components to the dishes, and are almost impossible to replicate identically at home. We roast foie gras, poach halibut in olive oil, cook short ribs for 36 hours. At home it is about simplicity. We roast large pieces of meat with just salt and pepper, we caramelize beautiful vegetables stovetop. Then we sit down together and eat family style.

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JustLuxe: Besides gastronomy, what other passions do you have?

Quinn:
Competitive cycling and power lifting

Karen: Exploring the city with our kids.