Nowness: Chefs on Sundays: Animal
The “Dudes” Who Run L.A.’s Meat Temple Have Pork on the Brain
For the second installment of our Chefs On Sundays series, NOWNESS zoned in on Animal restaurant founders Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo—for whom meat is always the main event. Photographer Marcus Gaab and food stylist Victoria Granof capture their pork loin chops dinner in sizzling stop-motion. Set in an old Jewish district of Los Angeles, Shook and Dotolo’s swine-centric, no-frills establishment opened in 2008 to instant success (a seafood joint, Son of a Gun, followed earlier this year). Providing the quintessential “nose-to-tail” experience, the chefs challenged preconceptions of puritanical L.A. cuisine with a menu featuring pig’s head, ear, and belly, along with more exotic cuts like veal brains, lamb necks and rabbit legs. With early supporters including Harrison Ford and Benedikt Taschen, Animal has made fans of adventurous foodies and peers alike. Often referred to as “The Dudes,” Dotolo and Shook choose to spend their Sundays in the traditional West Coast manner, sleeping late, dipping in the pool and visiting the farmers’ market, before cooking up a feast for friends. We got personal with the laid-back duo.
Do two cooks spoil the broth?
No, not at all. It’s a team effort. Best and worst is there’s always someone to lean on.
Most extravagant kitchen appliance?
Koch vacuum sealer.
Go-to olive oil?
Frankies Spuntino 457 olive oil, made from Sicilian olives.
Name your poison.
Mary Jane. Blue Dream.
Best hangover remedy?
What’s an easy-to-make snack that packs a punch?
Any food phobias?
Eating for thrills. It should be about eating anything that tastes good.
Your menu reads: “changes and modifications are politely declined.” What do you say to a vegetarian who accidentally wanders into your establishment?
There are things for vegetarians to eat, not vegans.