Meet Jessica Koslow of Sqirl. The day she agreed to be featured on GLCO with a casual “totottaalllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” was pretty much a day that I totally flipped out. Because dude, Jess is a boss lady whose jam is the jam, and whose innovative, community-sourced fresh fare is brunched upon by even the most stylish of LA (cue Emily Ratajowski in our Wilsons). In the next two days I read up every interview about her possible in hopes that I’d come up with the *most* *dazzling* questionnaire that would do justice to, you know, Sqirl. But to be real when the words came out in the interview it was more like I was on a mission to GRILL – and I’m no chef.
In the end what made for better fodder to feature was everything else that just kind of came up. So here it is: hanging out in John Mattingly’s backyard, a Craiglist dude with mad muttonchops, sweet retrievers and the only Seville orange tree in LA – perfect for British marmalade. Add in a few more moments at the restaurant, along with my silly questions and Jess’s better answers, and here we have the humbling reminder that comfort zones are no chill zones, whether it comes to Q&A’s or food. Consider this a lesson learned that what matters most is just to taste and see.
What's the food about?
This is a mashup of every community and culture. In France, there has to be a specific taste, or regional specialties; here in California you can do whatever you want. Even our upcoming cookbook is reflective of that – our photography is a mashup of different photographers. It’s so cheesy to say “it’s a fusion,” but why not make food that’s comforting and nothing like what you had before, and also familiar in some way?
The chicken porridge. It sounds weird, but trust me.
Describe one of your most memorable meals:
One of the most memorable meals in recent memory was at Extebarri on the outskirts of San Sebastian. I had broken my leg a few days prior (just rolled my ankle walking) and had to have surgery in San Sebastian. My friend that I was traveling with had to go back to New York and I was left wandering Basque Country with crutches and a ‘fruit boot’ on my right leg. I didn’t let it stop me…and moved the reservation to the day after the surgery, took a $200/cab and had a 4 hour meal by myself, savoring just-milked buffalo ricotta, house churned goat butter, Percebes, and the most perfectly grilled piece of steak. I'd love to do that meal all over again…sans the broken ankle.
Next travel or eating destination?
A two-part trip around Israel, Turkey and Morocco, as well as Georgia and Poland. I'm curious about my own heritage and various trajectories the food takes. I’ve been really nose to the grind these past 5 years of Sqirl and I’m looking forward to traveling a bit to explore such unique regions and spaces.
How did you get into food?
Well I was in college and I was a raver, and there was this guy… and we started going out to new restaurants. I was really amazed by trying new foods.
One thing I'll never eat again:
Sea Cucumber Sperm Sack…..
Next dish I want to make:
….a bok choy based salad….and dishes with a rustic Salvitxada all over them.
A quality you admire in the people you work with:
Passion to the point of neuroticism!
My team at Sqirl is:
Eclectic. Everyone who works at Sqirl has such a strong sense of self…it’s beautiful to see such a unique and diverse group of characters make Sqirl what it is.
Why not make food that’s comforting and nothing like what you had before, and also familiar?
Favorite spots in LA, in no particular order:
Watts Tower / Jurassic Museum of Technology / Apple Pan
The Pool at the LA Athletic Club / Point Dume / 356 Mission
Sapp Coffee Shop / Proof Bakery / Urasawa $$$$
Martini at Musso & Franks (True Cocktails at The Varnish)
Gratuitous trivia: there was a stint where you juggled TV production and baking, sleeping on 2 hours a night. How long did that last?