FX Excursions

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Executive Chef David Codney, The Belvedere At The Peninsula Beverly Hills

by Kimberly Inlander

Jan 1, 2016
2015

The Peninsula Beverly Hills’ iconic The Belvedere restaurant, the only AAA Five Diamond-rated restaurant in Southern California, will sport a new look and a new executive chef when it reopens this month following a complete three-month remodel. The Los Angeles mainstay and power lunch favorite, The Belvedere now features striking new interiors, an expanded outdoor terrace and a full menu transformation.

Under the direction of new Executive Chef David Codney, The Belvedere’s New American menu offers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with a focus on seafood. Codney also supervises the dining experience at the Roof Garden restaurant, as well as catering, special events and room service.

A highlight of the new restaurant is the outdoor dining experience, comprising nearly half of the restaurant’s space. Water, fire features and lush foliage combine to create an urban garden oasis in the middle of Beverly Hills.

Codney, whose passion for cooking developed in high school, joins the 5-star hotel from his role as executive sous chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples in Florida. His career began with an externship at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas following his graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park. The Ohio native cooked under three Certified Master Chefs during his time with Ritz-Carlton and was also a guest chef at James Beard House, the Naples Food & Wine Festival and the Southwest Winter Wine Festival.

What three go-to ingredients are always in your home kitchen?
Most people think of food when it comes to ingredients, but what comes to mind for me, immediately, are my cast iron pans. I love them. They have been with me for years and cook everything so evenly.

The second is home brew. I brew a lot and cook with it whenever I can. There is something about the combination of home beer and food that makes every meal better. Hops clean the palate and make every bite vibrant and alive.

Lastly, I am a chili junkie. Habaneros, jalapeños, serranos, aji amarillo — anything with spice and flavor, the hotter the better.

What’s your favorite season for cooking, and why?
My favorite is the one coming next. I am constantly on the hunt for inspiration, which means I am always hungry for the new, the up-and-coming and, more importantly, what it is that I currently don’t have.

Aside from your current position, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
When I was just out of high school, I worked at a restaurant named Baricelli Inn. It taught me what I was made of, to never give up, and that you can do anything if you have passion and drive. It also taught me a love for cheese; we had a cheese-aging cooler. I learned the art of ripening, composing cheese plates and about seasonality. There is no such thing as a perfect job, but spending a day back in the cheese cave is pretty close.

What’s the first meal you ever cooked?
To be honest, I have no idea. I have an early childhood memory of cooking classes, and I vividly remember making spinach puffs out of a children’s cookbook with measuring cups attached. My brother loved making “tuna wiggle” casserole, made of egg noodles, tuna and cream sauce. To this day, it is the only thing I will not eat!

What are your first thoughts when you hear “farm-to-table”?
It’s a funny concept. I’ve always had a love for the outdoors, and to see we are only now celebrating something as fundamental and basic as farm-to-table makes me a little sad because people are only finding out what the world has to offer. On the flip side, its popularity raised awareness for sustainable farming practices and the impact on eco-systems. Instead of labeling it, I look at it as a growing hunger for knowledge, flavor and responsibility.

The Belvedere

The Peninsula Beverly Hills
9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
tel 310 551 2888
beverlyhills.peninsula.com

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