May 19, 2015 / 12:12 PM / 2 years ago

World Chefs: Hatfields share passion for grilling in new LA eatery

(Reuters) - At culinary couple Karen and Quinn Hatfield's newest restaurant in Los Angeles, Odys + Penelope, it is all about grilling, with Brazilian churrasco and a wood-fired smoker, in a casual setting that moves away from their fine-dining background.

The restaurant, named for characters in the Greek epic "The Odyssey," is the couple's second eatery. In late 2014, the husband-wife team closed eight year-old Hatfield's, which earned a Michelin star and critics' praise for its upscale New American cuisine.

Los Angeles native Karen and Quinn, who hails from Greensboro, North Carolina, spoke to Reuters about their new venture, grilling and how fine dining is evolving.

Q: What should guests expect at the restaurant?

Karen: Most of what we do here is based on our live-fire cooking and different styles of grilling. We have a smoker. That’s the heart of it. It’s a casual restaurant with bold flavors.

Quinn: We just wanted to keep the food simple like how we really cook and eat. I got into cooking on wood and solid fuel like charcoal. We want to do something that’s close to who we are now. We’re parents. We’re older than we used to be.

Q: How have the ways you eat and cook changed?

Karen: We did fine dining for close to 20 years and we were ready to do something else.

Quinn: When I was young, it was all about fine dining. That was what we were like being cool and cutting-edge of that scene. My personal diet changed a bit. We got away from the grains and stuff. I am eating differently and that’s reflected in what we are doing here.

Q: Did the changing dining scene in L.A. cause the closing of Hatfield’s?

Quinn: Obviously, it’s not the focus of what most people are looking for these days. We were lucky we did really well with that concept. It’s not like it’s totally gone and it doesn’t exist.

Karen: It’s just evolving. Fine dining is not what it used to look like.

Q: Do you have time to cook at home?

Karen: Sunday is always a day we look forward to, being able to cook breakfast for the kid, then go to the farmers market and hopefully have something to cook for that night.

Q: What is your favorite comfort food?

Karen: We eat a lot of roast chicken at home. Quinn makes it.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Mary Milliken and David Gregorio

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