Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Dec 29th, 2016

New Chef Takes Helm at the Bel-Air

the-bel-airThere is a new chef in town at the newly renamed Bel-Air (formerly known as The Bel Air Bar + Grill) and his name is Gary Emerling and he is bringing his European training to the upscale eatery. At a time when fine dining seems to be an uphill battle in Los Angeles, the Springville, NY, chef actually speaks with a European accent when describing his dishes at a recent media dinner to announce his hiring. He calls his style of cooking “Borderless Cuisine” which is a concept that can work for a restaurant as long as the consistency of every dish remains high.

Emerling started out at 16 working at a ski resort in New York State before progressing to the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. That training eventually led to the Michelin Star Chef Philippe Rochat in Switzerland. Further stints followed with Benoit Violier, Joel Robuchon and Thomas Rode Anderson. One of the highlights of his career was a fourth place finish in the 2015 KADI Cuisinier d’Or of Switzerland. He moved to Los Angeles in May 2015, and now his job is to create high end “Borderless Cuisine” at the Bel-Air.

Appetizers at the dinner were interesting to say the least and I was extremely surprised to have a chilled Gazpacho soup, especially in November, that was served with dill weed and avocado dots. A Farm Egg, poached for 4 minutes was also unique that was accompanied by a tapenade and balsamic vinegar. Good to see that Burrata is still a popular item, and Emerling’s version is with a house made duck prosciutto, herb poached mushrooms and wild arugula.

He is keeping the Bel-Air Classic Salad on the menu which has been around since 1997 with carrots, celery, corn, garbanzos, Parmigio-Reggiano cheese w/a honey balsamic dressing. There is also the Waldorf “Escoffier” with Pippin apples, celeriac and California Walnuts in a 3880 sauce.

Chicken comes pan roasted with preserved cranberries and a rosemary hash and the Slow braised pork cheeks were one of the standouts for me and especially because they were served with three types of peas along with lemongrass and a sweet potato gnocchi. Emerling’s Short Ribs are red wine braised, and again he comes up with creative sides like the roasted rainbow carrots and charred poblano and garlic mashed redskins.

The Bel-Air
662 N.Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-5544

Open for lunch and dinner-Sunday brunch

About the Author

- Michael Hepworth is a food, spirits and travel writer who contributes to magazines, newspapers and magazines in Los Angeles, Dubai, London and Mumbai.

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New Chef Takes Helm at the Bel-Air