Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Episode 4: Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City, Culver City CA

Chef Brendan Collins removes the meat from the lamb's skull
Our chef of choice for Kamikaze Kitchen Episode 4, British expatriate Chef Brendan Collins is one of the hardest working chefs in the Los Angeles area, and although he means business in the kitchen, he's also the kind of guy you'd want to down a few pints with and have a round or two of darts. Chef Collins designed the menu at Waterloo and City in tribute to simple, workingman's fare, but with an artistic flair and focus on hearty dishes using what traditionally would be called "utility cuts". From the rich, earthy blood cake to the masterpiece King's Platter of charcuterie, Collins' prowess with nose-to-tail gastropub fare is the stuff of legends, and we knew going in that Chef Collins would be able to bat out of the park any pitch we threw at him.

The lamb's head prior to cooking
Collins, a native of Nottingham, England, landed a spot at two-star Michelin restaurant, Le Gravroche, by age 17. Having mastered his craft in the UK, Chef Collins jumped the pond in 2002 to serve as chef de cuisine at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica at the request of Chef Josiah Citrin. Under his watch, Melisse received at the Mobile Four Star Rating and was one of the first California restaurants to receive a Michelin two star rating. Collins developed Orange County's Mesa Restaurant, Anisette in Santa Monica, and The Hall at Palihouse before opening Waterloo & City and serving as Executive Chef; he splits his time officiating between Waterloo and City (named after a London Tube station) and Larry's in Venice Beach.

It should have occurred to us that a chef that knows meat inside and out the way Collins does would know exactly what to do with a skinned lamb's head - using a range of techniques (which included an electric Skil saw), Chef Collins used every bit of real estate on the beast's head in a dish that included lamb brain ravioli with pea puree, chunks of savory face meat and braised tongue. The lamb's head was sourced from and a recipe for the dish is forthcoming.

 Pea Brain Ravioli

Follow Chef Brendan Collins on Twitter at @ChefBrendanC, and on Facebook at /Brendan Collins
Follow Waterloo and City on Twitter at @WaterlooandCity, on Facebook at /Waterloo and City and on the web at

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