Even amateurs appreciate the fact that cooking, while rewarding, is incredibly hard work, entailing endless hours on one’s feet in cramped, hot quarters, late nights, and holidays apart from loved ones. No wonder that professional cooking is increasingly dominated by youth, as in L.A., where 10 of the most prominent chefs are still on the tender side of 30.
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Casey Lane arrived from Portland, Oregon a few years ago with a penchant for using house-made ingredients, whether making his own pasta or pickling his own vegetables. At The Tasting Kitchen in Venice, he serves up sweetbreads dusted with fennel pollen and beef bourguignon on a daily-changing menu reflecting the excitement of market-driven spontaneity.
“Being too young to be afraid of failure was definitely the case for me and the guys I opened the Tasting Kitchen with,” says Lane of how his philosophy related to his age, 26, at the time. “I think age and experience can make people feel like the safer play is the one for them, and nothing great ever came from the safer play.”
Lane most recently debuted a downtown gastropub the Parish and soon the native-born Texan will tackle a West Hollywood pasta bar, Itri. “This is definitely where I hoped I would be at this age. I think I’ve missed some opportunities and seized some others, so I’m pretty happy where I am,” says the now-29-year-old Lane.
The Tasting Kitchen, 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310.392.6644.
The Parish, 840 S. Spring St., downtown, 213.225.2400.