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Plant Food + Wine is where vegetables go to heaven. It even looks like heaven, provided the afterlife is warm and sun-drenched, with a patio under an olive tree canopy and an edible garden that would make Eden jealous. Situated on the still-emerging northern end of Abbot Kinney, Plant is the Los Angeles location of raw vegan chef Matthew Kenney’s expanding empire, which has restaurants in Miami and New York City. Perched atop the Venice location is a Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, where aspiring chefs can learn to create their own plant-based, raw cuisine out of California’s dazzling produce. And in the restaurant is where executive chef Scott Winegard ties on a sustainably-produced apron and performs magic: transforming seaweed into Cacio E Pepe, watermelon into poke and hearts of palm into leche de tigre. Such wizardry and imagination comes from different chapters of his Twain-esque life: the childhood chapter on Long Island, where he would run over to his grandfather’s gigantic garden to see what new stuff he had planted; the mid-90s chapter, in which he was the bassist for the influential emo band Texas is the Reason; or perhaps the chapter in which he staged at Noma in Denmark (named #1 of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants multiple times). Eventually, Winegard worked his way up the vegetarian food chain to become the Director of Culinary Operations for Matthew Kenney’s restaurants in New York City, but he always wanted to live in Venice. “When we planned on opening a restaurant here I jumped at the chance to move,” he says, and he has really dug into both his role as Executive Chef and the neighborhood. He is currently loving all the Venice favorites: Gjelina, Leona, Dudley Market, Superba, Tasting Kitchen and Shima, to name a slew. But he’ll also travel to Necco, a Japanese tapas spot in Westwood that has been known to create a platter of vegan nigiri out of farmer’s market vegetables and rice. “There are a lot of chefs here who care about ingredients and have amazing cooking backgrounds that are doing unique things,” he says. Just a year after opening Plant Food + Wine—but decades of mastering plant-based cuisine—Winegard is firmly rooted among them.
Plant Food + Wine
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1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
In the restaurant is where executive chef Scott Winegard ties on a sustainably-produced apron and performs magic: transforming seaweed into Cacio E Pepe, watermelon into poke and hearts of palm into leche de tigre.