One of the best things about writing my book is the people that it has led me to. Case in point is my guest chef dinner at Cortez, the little gem of a restaurant in Echo Park that hosted my dinner last Sunday. Both co-owner Marta Teegen and cook Juliet Orbach are two wonderful ladies that I now call friends.
I feel so lucky to have become connected with Cortez. Everything about the place is thoughtful, from the design of the room, to the careful sourcing of ingredients from local vendors, to the preparation of the food. Putting on this dinner meant I was in the kitchen along with everyone else, cooking rhubarb, shaping meatballs, and chopping pistachios. It’s the first real time I’ve spent in a restaurant kitchen in years, and I’m grateful to everyone who had patience with my rusty restaurant chops. It was beautiful to see this team of cooks interpret my recipes with so much creativity and passion. I owe a very special thanks to Juliet, who made crisp, golden tahdig for 60 people.
Here are images from the sold-out dinner. We had so much fun that there is talk of doing a series of Persian pop-up nights at Cortez, hopefully not too long from now. Thanks to everyone who came out, I’ll keep you posted on future dinners at Cortez!
Photos: James Rotondi