Ted Hopson, Executive Chef at Father's Office, a legacied gastro pub with locations in Culver City and Santa Monica, has a simple philosophy when it comes to food; Don't forget the twist.
Trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, the move is a recent one for Hopson, joining the gastro pub in October of 2010. Prior to that, he spent six years at Water Grill, a fine-dining seafood restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, learning high-end applications of his craft. While he's grateful for the skills acquired in the Michelin-starred establishment (when Los Angeles was a part of the ratings system), he's now creating a "cozier" menu with many of the same ingredients at a pub-fare price point more in line with Hopson's upbringing in a large, Italian family and personal ethos: sharing a love of food by making it accessible to friends and family.
While the menu at Father's Office is built on the burger-and-a-beer idea (and famously so, the Office Burger regularly lands on best-burger lists) he adds twists and turns to other classics like meatballs (who hasn't had a meatball?) using goat meat, and yellow tomato gazpacho with epazote, a Mexican herb.
With the arrival of stone fruit season, Hopson set his sights on a classic summer ingredient, the peach. Rather than heading towards predictable sweet and syrupy desserts, he pickles them. "It's the same recognizable flavor, just a different application." Balancing the tartness of the pickling with the sweetness of the peaches works best when they are under-ripe, so he works closely with farmers at the markets to plan his menu around the beginning of harvests.
Inspired by other recognizable flavors of summer grilling season like big, meaty dishes and onion rings, Hopson recommends using the peaches to accompany any grilled red meat. In the restaurant, he serves the them atop a dish inspired by the same summer palate sans outdoor grill; beef cheeks braised to fork-tender and crispy shallots.
"People are looking for simple, great food here, not to have their food minds blown." Lucky for us, he manages to do both.
Yield: about a half pound
- 1c Sugar
- 3c White Wine Vinegar
- 3c Water
- 1/2tsp Red Chili Flakes
- 2 tsp Salt
- 4 large peaches, under ripe
- Peel all of the peaches. Under-ripe peaches should be easy to peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut the pits from around the flesh.
- Bring all of the ingredients except the peaches to a boil.
- Add the peaches and simmer until they are just tender (2-3 minutes), then cool and store in the liquid.
Pickled Peach Compote
Yield: 8oz (using 2oz a portion makes 4 portions)
- 1 Shallot
- ½ lb.Pickled Peaches
- 1 Sprig Rosemary
- 1oz Olive Oil
- 1oz Whole Grain Mustard
- Kosher Salt to taste
- Mince the shallot, place in a mixing bowl.
- Dice the pickled peaches into a medium dice, and mix with shallots.
- Mince the rosemary and add it to the mixing bowl.
- Add the mustard and olive oil, stir well without crushing the peaches.
- Season with salt and taste. For a little extra "kick", add more mustard.