Goin's A.O.C. Cookbook turns small plates into main courses

Tue Nov 5, 2013 4:04am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A full restaurant with the heart and soul of a wine bar is how Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Suzanne Goin describes A.O.C., her eatery known for its small, shared plates and relaxed ambiance.

In the "A.O.C. Cookbook," which is the follow-up to her James Beard award-winning first book, "Sunday Suppers at Lucques," Goin turns the eatery's shared-style plates into main courses for the serious home chef.

"I love a traditional wine bar. I love the casualness and the communal-ness of it. But in the end I'm a chef so I don't want to only have cheese and charcuterie. I want people to have a whole meal," said Goin, who also is chef and owner of Lucques, Tavern and The Larder.

Goin, 47, spoke from Los Angeles about training under culinary legends Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck, and her conviction that cooking is all about the details.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a chef?

A: When I was growing up it wasn't really something you thought of to do. In college I got a job in a restaurant and when I graduated, it was this moment of, ‘Do you do the fantasy job you dream of, or continue on with school and do something else?'... I decided to do what seemed like the wild and crazy thing... and it kind of just took off.

Q: What is your training?

A: I didn't go to culinary school. I learned on the job... I worked in (Alice Waters') Chez Panisse for two years ... I did an internship at Ma Maison, where Wolfgang Puck got his start. ... Once you have one good building block it makes it easier to get a job at the next good place.   Continued...