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Holiday Recipes From One of our Fave Chefs – This is UGG

Felix Barron is one of our favorite Los Angeles chefs. He got his start on the food scene by putting on weekly pop-up brunches, which he ran out of his own loft downtown. But, as with everything good in LA, the word soon spread to foodies of all kinds and he got the momentum to start a real-life restaurant. Cue the birth of KTCHN DTLA, Felix’s permanent spot located on the lovely outdoor patio of the Resident in the Arts District. Now you can try his dishes (including eggs served all day, hearty sandwiches, and lots of potatoes) whenever you like.

We recently met up with Felix at KTCHN DTLA and talked to him about the life of a chef, his inspiration, and what he’s cooking for the holidays. Plus, he shares two of his own favorite side dishes with us, made with seasonal ingredients like beets and turnips. Try them for your next gathering if you want a reputation as the best cook in the family.

What inspired you to open KTCHN DTLA?

Due to high demand, I opened KTCHN DTLA as an extension of my underground pop-up brunch I used to do out of my loft on the weekends. We got so big and crazy busy that I had to move the pop-up out of my home, before I got pinched.

What does your typical day-to-day look like as a chef in LA?

My chef life is awesome. Every day is different. Not only do I have a restaurant in the Arts District, but I’m also blessed to have a great team that takes care of it while I’m away doing other food projects. One day, I can be consulting for a music venue’s food program, and the next day I’m cooking for the owner of Netflix, then the following day I’m packing ice chests for a weekend motorcycle trip with Wilderness Collective to Yosemite National Forest. I’m in love with doing food projects because there is a beginning and an end, and then I’m off to the next project. I’m always in need of creative stimulation and doing these projects outside of my restaurant helps me from getting too complacent.

Where do you draw inspiration for your recipes?

I call my food “life inspired.” I pull from my Mexican heritage and all the beautiful California produce we have available year-round, and toss it together with food I like to eat or have eaten abroad. When I’m creating a dish, I start by showcasing produce and build up from there. Most of the time my menus are veggie-forward.

Are you the sole chef for the holidays or do you collaborate with your other family members?

I like to collaborate with my sisters and mom. My mom taught us all how to cook, so we can all throw down. My favorite part of the holidays are the side dishes. You can tell a restaurant is good based off how tasty their side dishes are. I can live off sides alone.

Get Felix’s “Beet It” and “Turnt Up Turnips” recipes below:

Beet It
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes

Ingredients

2lbs beets
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup mascarpone
2 tablespoon preserved lemon chopped
1 sprig basil
2 tablespoon chopped pistachios
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Place beets in pan with oil and cover with foil. Place in 350-degree oven for 1 hr. Remove from oven and set aside with foil left on. While beets cool, take mascarpone and whisk in preserved lemon, season with salt and pepper. Take a kitchen towel and rub the beet skin off. Dice beets and reserve in a bowl. Pour oil from beet pan over the diced beets, season with salt and pepper. To plate, smear mascarpone mixture on serving plate, then top with beets. Garnish with basil leaves and chopped pistachios.

Turnt Up Turnips

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes

Ingredients
2 bunches washed turnips, with tops
4 oz melted butter
½ cup tahini
1 tablespoon miso
1 cup hollandaise
1 small radish, sliced thin
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Edible flowers (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Remove turnip tops and set aside. Cut turnips into quarters and place in a pan with butter, tahini, and miso. Roast uncovered at 350-degrees for 35 minutes. Take turnip tops and roughly chop. Sautée in pan with 1 tablespoon butter and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Make your favorite hollandaise recipe and reserve for later. Remove turnips from oven and serve immediately. Place on serving platter, garnish with hollandaise, top with turnip greens, sprinkle sesame seeds, and add sliced radishes. Garnish with edible flowers.

Photos by Victoria Wall Harris