Los Angeles Insider: Venice Chef David Myers

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James Beard Award nominated David Myers is the owner/chef of top Los Angeles restaurants Sona and Comme Ca. Trained in France, with time spent on the line at New York's three-Michelin-starred Daniel and Chicago's renowned Charlie Trotter, Myers tells us why, for him, Venice, California is the fairest of them all -- and a little about his love of the lowly chicken wing.

Name:
David Myers, 35, chef

Neighborhood: Venice neighborhood in Los Angeles, California

Abode: Loft rental apartment.

How long have you lived in Venice? Three years in Venice, though I have been in LA since '98. I'm an East Coast Angeleno.
What do you love most about your neighborhood?

First of all, I love that it's by the ocean. And I love the feeling, the artistic energy in the neighborhood. There's an edge to it. There are great restaurants and bars and shops; it's really a unique mix of culture.

It's one of the most beautiful places I've lived when you consider the ocean out your door and the mountains around you. It's an incredible place -- and it has the best Japanese food in the US. You can lead an incredible and active life here for not much.

Do you talk to your neighbors?
Well, I don't really see anybody because I work all the time (laughing).

Best kept secret in Venice?
Tortoise General Store. It is the best place to pick up gifts and pieces for your home, I'd spend all my money in there if I could. It's owned and managed by some of the coolest people in Venice, hands down. They have their finger on the pulse of what's hip around the world. And the best shoe shop is on Abbot Kinney called Waraku. They have all the import shoes from Tokyo.

What, no restaurant?
Gjelina is my favorite restaurant. It exemplifies Venice. The chef is a talent and the food's phenomenal.

Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night in your neighborhood?
As most nights, on Saturday night I work. So for me it's after work when I get out late and go home. I crack open some wine and it's like total relaxation and decompression time.

Does Los Angeles influence your cooking?

I prefer to think I bring what I'm interested in to L.A., but I think L.A. has influenced it in this way, [it's given me] a drive to have ingredients that are the best and getting them from great farms. It's easy to have incredible food year round here. It's a phenomenal food city, it really is.

As a creative chef that uses all sorts of ingredients, you don't think L.A.'s a little too fruit-smoothie, vegan-y?
I don't see that often. I think that was in "L.A. Story" with Steve Martin but I don't think it's that anymore. I think it's a having a steak, drinking a whiskey and having a smoke kind of town. And then have a smoothie in the morning to even things out.

What do you think is healthy eating?
There are so many diets that I think, is this what healthy eating is supposed to be? Because I'm truly interested and I want to have a sense of what [is healthy]. For myself, and I'm aging daily, I can no longer eat pizza followed by the chicken-wing contest followed by Ben and Jerry's followed by beers, so I'm still learning. But I think the key is to go to the farmers markets in your area, and I don't mean that as a cliche, but the quality of ingredients there is great. It's a bit more expensive but we have to get back to foods that are from the dirt, so maybe it's getting greens and sautee them in oil and that's what you eat. There are cool services now that deliver incredible produce to your house so you can just cook at home nightly with incredible ingredients.

I'm not against these diets, it's just I love to eat all things, I really do. I'm in a business where I get home at two in the morning and fire up a steak.

Read about other Los Angeles Insiders or see Venice, California Real Estate at AOL Real Estate.
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