CHEF JONATHAN WOOD, executive chef and director of food and beverage, InterContinental Los Angeles Century City at Beverly Hills, incorporates elements of the authentic Korean dishes and preparation methods from his childhood in Kansas City. Combined with touches of traditional comfort foods and global cuisine, he delivers wildly creative but approachable cuisine, cuisine travelers can now sample at the hotel’s new signature restaurant, Mari Los Angeles. It represents the final phase of the property’s multiyear, multimillion-dollar renovation.
Mari not only showcases Chef Wood’s passions but also those of the hotel owner, who was inspired by her Japanese heritage and global travels. The menu is a mix of influences, from Italy and Indonesia to Peru and India. Serving three meals a day, Mari greatly benefits from the abundance of farm-fresh ingredients in the Southern California city.
Before joining InterContinental Los Angeles Century City at Beverly Hills in 2008 and being promoted to executive chef in 2010, Chef Wood graduated with honors from The Culinary Institute of America and cooked at some of the finest restaurants in Boston, Kansas City and Los Angeles.
WHICH DESTINATIONS INSPIRED YOU, AND HOW HAS THAT INSPIRATION TRANSLATED INTO YOUR COOKING/MENUS?
I’ve traveled to some amazing places in my life: Asia, Europe and Latin America, to name just a few. Experiencing different styles of cooking (from rustic to elaborate) and unique or indigenous ingredients is really exciting. I think these experiences translate to chefs and travelers, both. Exploring the culture of food, socializing around food and learning from locals is what inspires me. And when it’s time to return home, it’s a pleasure bringing these experiences back into the kitchen and sharing with my culinary team.
WHOM DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR CULINARY HERO?
Iron Chef Sakai; when I was young, I watched a lot of Iron Chef Japan on television. Chef Hiroyuki Sakai always seemed cool, calm and collected on screen. And his chef skills in the kitchen were amazing. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to actually cook beside him at a fundraising event in Los Angeles. Initially it was intimidating for me, but that didn’t last long. Chef Sakai was so kind and generous with his knowledge that I became an even bigger fan, if possible.
WHAT ONE PERSON MOST INFLUENCED YOUR COOKING STYLE, AND HOW?
I am classically trained in French cooking, and my style continues to embrace other influences. However, I’m emotionally connected to food through my childhood and family. As a Korean-American growing up in the Midwest, the best dishes were always found on my mother’s or grandmother’s table.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD CITY?
Tokyo — that city is packed with delicious food.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT BIG TREND ON THE FOOD SCENE WILL BE?
There are chefs doing interesting blends with food, science and art. And I appreciate the creativity and hard work that goes into those preparations. But I’m also seeing a lot more “going back to the basics” and keeping things simpler. That is, letting ingredients shine for themselves by scaling back recipes and the number of components in dishes.
InterContinental Los Angeles Century City at Beverly Hills
2151 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
tel 310 284 6500
Expansion plans involving a new 14-gate concourse at Mineta San Jose International Airport in California must clear environmental review before moving forward.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower opened following full renovations to its 280 guestrooms and public spaces. The property is the second Hyatt Regency in Spain. The hotel sits in a Barcelona skyline landmark, a 29-story tower topped with a glass dome that provides travelers with 360-degree views and an unparalleled dining experience.
Opened this past November, Osaka Excel Tokyu Hotel rethinks the classic Japanese business hotel format in a delightful way. While the basic design concept is rooted in generations-old Japanese aesthetics, its wow factor comes from the interior designers’ approach of filtering them through a kaleidoscope. This effect is accomplished with ornate hexagonal lamps, carpeting with geometric shape motifs and pops of happy gold and blue hues. The lobby adds to that with a whimsical, but sophisticated mix of artwork and decorative ornaments, with a color palette and ornamentation that extends to 364 private rooms and suites throughout 17 floors.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
In an age where airlines continually look for new ways to increase connectivity and offer passengers more options, a new agreement gives United Airlines passengers the ability to book spots on 68 Vistara-operated flights to 26 destinations in India. The agreement goes into effect Feb. 28.
Reconnect with nature and step outside your comfort zone at Palmaïa, The House of AïA. The new Riviera Maya resort focuses on inner exploration and a respect for nature, offering visitors an array of experiences promoting self-discovery and spiritual wellness.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Qatar Airways is expanding this year, adding eight new destinations to its network. The list includes: