Meet Chef Daniel Perlof

Chef Daniel Perlof A native of Tustin California, learned his way around the kitchen at a young age partaking in the creation of family meals with his Grandmother and Father. Outside of the home, he studied Spanish and found this to be helpful in various kitchens and catering roles – always seeking to help talented crew members overcome this hurdle when expressing their talents with mostly English speaking managers. Chef Daniel recently took a leap of food and faith to expand this concept of elevating others by opening his own catering company Rhyme and Reason Catering. With lark #39  at the gorgeous Cleobella being his official “lark” debut, we can’t wait to see what this eager and passionate chef has to offer.

Q & A

Which living Chef do you most admire?

Argentine Chef Francis Mallmann is absolutely fascinating. He emphasizes learning and a communal approach to the kitchen, which I love and respect. Also, he uses fire for everything, and I’ve always been a bit of a pyro.

What is the quality you most like in a meal?

Balance.

What do you consider your greatest culinary achievement?

Having my father tell others that I had surpassed his culinary talents.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My sense of humor.

What is your motto?

“Fortune favors the bold.”

Can you share a life changing culinary experience?

I had the fortunate opportunity to go on a post-graduation trip to Europe, a guided site-seeing experience over the course of three weeks, that took us to Rome, Florence, Paris, Interlaken, Bruges, and London.

In Rome I experienced veal for the first time in my life, something I didn’t foresee (but as they say, “When in Rome!”). Walking around the Forum and seeing the relics of that ancient world, I wondered to myself how the Romans must have eaten way back when those sites were first being developed– alongside of what would later come to be known as the “Western” world.

In Florence, I enjoyed prosciutto with cantaloupe for the first time, and had pizza for four days in a row.

Paris demonstrated to me the theatricality of cuisine, and I ate escargot in the Spanish Quarter one sweltering hot afternoon, after a long morning of touring the vast and vibrant city. In the same city on the Fourth of July (how American?!), our group ate at a restaurant that was cave-like in setting, and the appetizers and salad consisted of a large basket of cheese, cured meat, lettuce, and vegetables, with a knife so that every guest could take whatever they please, and pass the basket on to their neighbor.

In Interlaken, nestled between two crystal-blue glacial lakes, I learned that I have somewhat of disdain for white pepper, especially on my eggs.

A day later, (and one wicked Swiss hangover later), in Bruges, sitting underneath a centuries-old castle, I ate authentic Belgian waffles, with crisp, sweet strawberries, and the seemingly airiest whipped cream on Earth. Also, I became aware of their hip-as-could-be street vendors who almost exclusively sell potato fries– something oft attributed to the French, but originated in Belgium.

Finally, in England, I had pub food for the first time after crossing the English Channel into Canterbury, and was overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Brits, with an elderly couple inviting us to sit along side them at their table in an otherwise full restaurant. On a day-trip to the Windsor Castle, I ate fish and chips, skin-on and bone-in, with probably the blandest coleslaw in all the land, and washed it down with a delicious blonde ale.

All in all, the experience taught me so much about myself, and about how different foods and cultures can be from place to place. My appreciation for the adventure of food grew exponentially. The gastronomy of a locale is what sticks out the most to someone who loves food. I felt, and still feel, so lucky and grateful to be able to create these memories. My trip to Europe was an incredible adventure that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Chef Daniel Perlof