Having spent seven months in Kansas and Oklahoma inn keeping, cooking and writing I knew in my heart that it was time to come back to Los Angeles, if for no other reason, to celebrate my birthday with friends and family. And then in an unusual twist of life, even by my standard, an old friend offered me one of the coolest jobs on the planet – of course I said yes, and back in LA I am. The fact that I had just moved my Chef Stan cooking enterprise to Guthrie Oklahoma, while no problem for my new job, a definite challenge for Chef Stan to cook in the Midwest while taking care of business on the Coast. But not to worry, I have friends and they have restaurants and who doesn’t need some Soup by Chef Stan?
As it turned out, my first conversation with my buddy Rasmus Lee, the owner of the renowned Downtown Hygge Bakery (1106 South Hope, Hope & 11th) was the only one that I needed to have, Soup by Chef Stan was coming to Downtown. And over the last few weeks that I have been making Soup by Chef Stan at Hygge I have had the joy of cooking for old friends and the uber joy of turning still more folks on to what I do – cook great food for people!!! Yeah I know, I just called my own food great, but by this I mean that I put a lot of love into what I do and it’s the love that goes into food that turns good food into great food – all the school in the world can’t give a chef heart, a chef has to find this ingredient for himself.
Sometimes when people who don’t know what I do, ask me what I do, I smile and think to myself that this is going to sound kind of crazy – even to me. “Well I work as Director of Business Development for…And I’m Chef Stan….And I write books and movies and…” Anyway, I get it, it’s different, but there is a point in life that you get to sometimes and you just have to laugh and say, “It is what is, I’m just going to roll with it.” So I roll with doing different things, sometimes all at the same time.
Why Soup by Chef Stan? Well my day job prohibits me from being on the line cooking and plating a lot of the food that I do, but any reasonably competent counter help can ladle soup, so I can cook long before the sun rises and then roll to work. Also, soup truly is the test of a chef. A great cut of steak grilled for four minutes on each side, while one of the best meals on any menu, it is hardly a cooking skill that should define a chef – most of the credit belongs to the cow! But soups, they test a chef and they take a lot of work – my Four Alarm Chili, which is vegan, can fool even the most educated palate into thinking that it’s a meat chili, it takes more than twenty ingredients to accomplish this effect and it has no fat or cholesterol. So, healthy, fast and easy to serve, affordable and done right, delicious to eat, that’s why I do soups for people, I like to give people a product that not only tastes great, but is great for them – it’s nice to be able to say this about what you do.
How far will I take Soups by Chef Stan, I honestly don’t know. Currently Hygge Bakery and 7 Bar (downtown LA, corner of 7th and Grand, directly across from Bottega Louie) are keeping me busy, but as always, there’s so much more I’d like to do. Much like my writing, I love cooking for people so much that I would do it for free if I could afford to—I hope one day people all around the country will get a chance to try one of my soups, it’s a nice thought that keeps me cooking away…