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The Autry's 'Flavors' combines flavors from California's past and present




Close up of some dishes that will be served at the Autry's flavor series.
Close up of some dishes that will be served at the Autry's flavor series.
Via TheAutry.org

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When it comes to dining experiences, Los Angeles has never shied away from innovation.

Temporary, experimental eateries have cropped up in all sorts of places and Angelenos have shown up...HUNGRY. These pop-ups take place in venues ranging from private residences to former fabric factories to enjoy meals prepared by chefs who are eager to cook without the constraints of a typical restaurant.

If you've missed out on the trend, it's never too late. The Autry Museum of The American West is launching a series of  dinners called Flavors: Historic California.

Organizers promise the flavors of authentic Longhorn cattle, Churro sheep, and other breeds from California's past plus some dinner conversation about the future of farming in the Golden State.

For a sneak preview, Alex Cohen spoke with Ben Fitzsimmons, the Autry's senior manager of programs, and Brad Robertson, executive chef behind the series "Flavors."

Interview Highlights

How did it start?

Ben: "I was having a conversation with the livestock conservancy, which is a national organization that preserves livestock breeds from extinction as a genetic resource, about ways we could work with them. They mentioned the food that they'd had at the recent conference and all these historic breeds...and also we've just opened a series of new galleries at the museum and in a section of the galleries we look at California indigenous plants and the use of those plants as food and medicine."

Executive chef Brad Robertson, you're from Cincinnati, you may not have been familiar with these sorts of things. What was the first thing that came to mind?

Brad: "That I got homework for the first time in 10 years. It's cool for me because they're not animals that not everyone gets an opportunity to work with, you know? Livestock nowadays is bred for fat content, flavor, these things. They've decided what the masses like and that's what the bulk of production in the United States is. These animals are very different, they have fat contents, they have different textures, different flavors...all these things that are really cool for me to get to play with and not a lot of people  have an opportunity to use."

How did you prepare?

Brad: "Working with Ben, we looked at how these things were prepared traditionally, we looked at traditional recipes from the rancho historical period and saw how people then treated these animals. 'Cause that's the same way we're going to treat them. I assume that the people who saw them everyday knew what they were doing, so we're not deviating from this for the first event. We're trying to be as historically accurate as we can. So, we're doing traditional techniques, traditional animals and it's something different than any lamb that you'll have anywhere else in L.A."

The "Flavors" series is Friday January 27th at 7:00pm. Their next series is next month and it's called Flavors: Future of Food? Click here for more information.

To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.