Chefs on StarChefs
Micheal Cimarusti on StarChefs

544 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Biography »

Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking? What was your inspiration?
Michael Cimarusti: My grandmother and great-grandmother were both Italian immigrants, and they had a great appreciation of food. When I was young, my parents took us kids along with them to fine dining restaurants.

AB: What are your favorite ingredients to use in the kitchen?
MC: Fish and other international marine products.

AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
MC: Bamix immersion blender.

AB: Where do you like to go for culinary travel?
MC: San Sebastian and the Tsukiji fish market in Toyko.

AB: What is your favorite interview question to ask during an interview for a potential line cook?
MC: What is your motivation? What brings you to my door? How do you feel about sweeping and mopping?

AB: What is your advice to culinary students?
MC: Be voracious, read. Go out and eat so you can experience restaurants. Shop, cook. Taste things, immerse yourself. Don’t get complacent. Save your pittance.

AB: What are your favorite culinary books?
MC: Essential Cuisine and The Notebooks of Michel Bras: Desserts. Michel is a very intellectual chef. It’s interesting how he cooks using medicinal herbs.

AB: Where do you see yourself in five years?
MC: Owning and operating a small fine dining restaurant.


Water Grill | Los Angeles, CA

Michael Cimarusti is up to his ears in seafood - and that’s just the way he likes it. Although he’s been swimming with the big fish for some time now, Cimarusti humbly began his culinary career as a dishwasher on the east coast. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Cimarusti arrived in New York City to work with celebrity chefs Roger Vergé and Paul Bocuse at the famed Le Cirque restaurant. Cimarusti is now settled on the west coast at the Water Grill and chances are, if he’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find him outside reeling in his own catch of the day.

Foie Gras Torchon with Asian Pear

Chef Michael Cimarusti of Water Grill - Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 2 Servings


    Foie Gras
  • 2 (3 ounce) pieces fresh foie gras, in package
  • ¼ Tablespoon curing salt, such as Tainted Cure Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon finely ground white pepper
  • 1 cup brandy, such as Armagnac
  • 1 cup port wine, such as Grahams Six
  • 4 2x3 (foot) pieces of tablecloth or other lint-free linen
  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • Asian Pear Foie Gras on StarChefs
  • 2 ripe medium-sized Asian pears
  • 1 Tablespoon clarified butter
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 star-anise
  • 1 pod of cardamom
  • 1 Chinese cassia bark*
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • Salt to taste

For foie gras:
To warm and soften foie gras, place the package of foie in a warm water bath at 70°F under a flowing faucet for one hour. When the foie is soft, carefully clean the veins from each lobe. Lay the cleaned lobes on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Season both sides of the foie gras with the curing salt, sugar, salt and white pepper. Drizzle the brandy and the port over the foie gras. Wrap well with Saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. Place each piece of foie gras in a separate piece of linen, with the lobe side down. Roll the foie gras with the use of the linen to form a cylinder-like shape. Wrap tightly and secure both ends with string. In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to a simmer. Poach the pieces of foie in hot chicken stock for 6 minutes or until the outer area of the foie is soft with a tough core. Remove the foie to a resting rack and refrigerate in the linen still until cool but still pliable. Untie and remove linens and repeat the rolling procedure with fresh linens; retie and refrigerate. This process keeps the cylindrical shape of the foie gras intact.

For Asian pear:
Slice pears into one-inch-thick pieces and core each piece. Heat a non-reactive saucepan. Place the clarified butter in the pan. When the butter begins to smoke, add the pear slices and cook until caramelized. Briefly remove the pan from the heat in order to add the unsalted butter, sugar, spices and orange juice. Place the pan back on the range with low heat and cover. Simmer until the pear slices have softened. When soft, remove slices to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, season with salt to taste and leave to cool.

To Serve:
Slice the foie gras into one-inch-thick slices and place at one end of the plate. Place one slice of Asian pear at the opposite end of the plate. Drizzle a bit of the syrup on top of pears. Season foie gras with salt and pepper. Serve with 2 slices of toasted brioche.

*Can be found at Asian markets

Wine suggestion:


 Published: Feb 2004