Interview with Chef Govind Armstrong of Table 8 – Los Angeles, CA
March , 2004
Antoinette Bruno: Why did you begin cooking? What was your inspiration?
Govind Armstrong: My mom was very interested in cooking. She read Julia Child’s cookbooks and the Galloping Gourmet. I took over the kitchen in my home when I was only 11 or 12 years old.
AB: Who are your biggest culinary influences?
GA: Pedro Subijana, Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter, Elena Arzak. I spent a couple of weeks in Spain helping Arzak prep dishes from start to finish and work on recipes in his test kitchen.
AB: What are your favorite ingredients to use in the kitchen?
GA: Sun chokes, flatiron steaks, shoulders, duck and fresh fruit.
AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool? Why?
GA: My Cryovac® vacuum sealer. I marinate fish in the Cryovac® with olive oil for about 2 ½ hours and then boil the fish for five minutes.
AB: Where do you like to go for culinary travel? Why?
GA: Italy and San Sebastian, Spain. Chefs in Spain are five to ten steps ahead of everyone else in the culinary world. Everyone else has just recently started to take notice, but they’ve been doing it for many years.
AB: What type of person would you want to hire as a line chef in your restaurant?
GA: I like to make sure that this is something they want to do for the rest of their lives.
AB: What is your advice to culinary students?
GA: Always keep up on your reading and traveling.
AB: What are your favorite culinary books? Why?
GA: Chez Panisse Cooking by Alice Waters. This book keeps true to the whole California cuisine movement. Waters discusses keeping a totally organic kitchen, which is something that I would like to have one day. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee opened my mind to a completely different level of how I understand food. It has more of a scientific edge.
AB: Where do you see yourself in five years?
GA:Opening up other restaurants, possibly overseas. I’d like to open up Tables 9 through 15.