Chef’s Corner with Chef J

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Hailing from good ol’ Brooklyn, NY, Chef Jason Harley (also known by many as “Chef J”) has been cooking since the tender age of 5-years old. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at the age of 20, he opened his very own first restaurant in NY, then two more in Ohio. Among his impressive roles, he has held the coveted position as head chef at the 50th Annual Cannes Film Festival (beating out 400 other contenders) and worked as the personal chef to John Travolta, Aaron Spelling and Tommy Lee.

Perfecting his signature healthy culinary techniques from New York to Europe to Hollywood, Chef J has been recognized as “Chef to the Stars” and has cooked for other A-listers that include: Justin Timberlake, Barbara Streisand, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston.

These days, as executive chef of Parc, he brings forth a culinary delight of French and Japanese fusion to the historic Walk of Fame. Parc’s small-plate menu features a delectable selection that includes: Clay Pot Chilean Sea Bass, Asian style Bouillabaisse, Lobster Ravioli with Sake Herb Broth, Hummus Pesto Crusted Salmon and a selection of oysters and caviar.

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Join us for an inside look with this gustatory genius:

How did you develop your culinary expertise?

It started at the age of 5, when I cooking with my grandma, making cheesecakes. At 18, I went to Culinary Institute of America and after graduation (at 20), opened my first restaurant in New York.

Have you traveled anywhere that has influenced your flavors and recipes?

France and the Caribbean

What are some of your favorite food discoveries?

Cooking in special Asian clay pots – keeps the fish moist and tender; mixing certain ingredients that you think wouldn’t’ go together, [but] they work… like Goat Cheese and Chocolate for my signature Chocolate Goat Cheese Terrine with essence of cassis.

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Name three things you cant cook without.

My signature BlackSteel Pans, 30” Simitar Knife, and herb oil garnish.

What’s an upcoming trend in cooking?

Smaller plates to share is the trend because nobody wants to commit to $35 entrees anymore.

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Do you have a favorite indulgence food?

Yes, any foods cooked straight in butter!

Do you listen to music while you cook?

Yes – Classical!

If you didn’t do this for a living, what would you do?

I’d be an Oceanographer!

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What would we find in your refrigerator at home?

The basics, but with some veal stock reduction blocks, marinades and homemade vinaigrettes. This way, when I entertain I can make some great food quick and tasty – and spend more time with my guests.

On your night off, where do you go to eat in LA?

Veno Vineto in Santa Monica – excellent Veal ravioli with porcini mushrooms! And their seafood salad is also my favorite.

It’s 2 a.m. … you’re leaving Parc, where do you head for a cocktail or a bite to eat?

Mel’s Diner down the street.

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Parc
Talk about an “it” place in the heart of Tinseltown! Parc is located on the famed Hollywood Boulevard and has played host to many of today’s top celebs including: Jessica Alba, Mathew McConaughey, Brittany Spears, Lindsey Lohan and the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. And, its no surprise – considering the man at the helm, the spectacular fare and the restaurant’s dynamic setting. With a sleek and sexy décor (take note of the magnificent crystal tree-chandelier), great atmosphere and loungy ambiance, Parc serves up culinary masterpieces of French/Asian fusion that don’t disappoint!

Some of our favorites at the restaurant include: Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Jalapeno Ponzu Aioli, Grilled Filet Grilled Black Angus Tenderloin with Truffled Soy Bearnaise and Sweet Corn Risotto with Parmesan & Fresh Herbs. For those with a sweet tooth, make sure to save room for the Double Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Lavender Panna Cotta with a blueberry relish and of course, Chef J’s Famous Cheesecake! All this, with an eclectic and impressive selection of wine, champagne and specialty cocktails, Parc is prime! (The restaurant is at 6683 Hollywood Boulevard.)

For more on what’s hot, check out our LA Destination Guide!

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