When Sang Yoon opened up Father’s Office in Santa Monica 11 years ago, the word “gastro-pub” wasn’t what it is today. Now the French-trained chef owns two Father’s Offices, which feature affordable yet inventive food, a signature and much-loved burger, and a serious selection of craft and small-batch brews, as well as the recently opened Lukshon, a return to fine dining from a guy who got his chops working in kitchens for Joel Robuchon and Wolfgang Puck.
Yoon, who has a reputation in LA’s dining scene as a stickler for food and drink—one LA critic told me he’s like the Soup Nazi—is something of a budding mogul, whose passions range from playing ice hockey to collecting motorcycles, watches, and Champagne.
Though he isn’t known for molecular gastronomy, it turns out he’s a bit of a mad scientist. He invited Food Republic into his test kitchen in LA’s Culver City neighborhood, then took a break from running his three successful restaurants to relax in the courtyard out back and talk about how science and technology can help improve food.
“The best interpretation of top level cuisine today is someone who embraces both traditional cooking and modern cooking techniques and weaves them together,” he told me. “But I also like it when technology and food is seamless. When you get a plate of food, I don’t like it when I can tell exactly how this happened and why it happened…. I don’t want the trickery, the smoke and mirrors, to sort of overcome simple good cooking.”