The Daily Meal caught up with chef de cuisine Joshua Whigham to learn about how his travels have influenced his work. Whigham is the chef de cuisine at The Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles and has previously worked at Andrés’ other restaurants Atlantico, minibar, and Zaytinya in Washington, D.C. In addition to receiving a four-star review from the Los Angeles Times, The Bazaar was named Esquire’s Restaurant of the Year in 2009 and was Zagat Los Angeles' 2010 Top Newcomer.
The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Joshua Whigham: My most inspirational food experience was my very first trip to Japan. I had a moment with a bowl of ramen. I was the only Westerner in this small shop and everyone stopped and looked at me, wondering why I was there. I went to the counter and pointed to what I wanted since we couldn’t understand each other. The man behind the counter explained to me that I chose udon noddle soup. I sat with this bowl, studied it, looked around to see how the locals ate it and then went to town. Slurping, eating the noodles, drinking the broth. It was me and that bowl of noodles and that was it.
TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
JW: My favorite kitchen souvenir is a yuzu zester from a Japanese sushi chef.
TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
JW: If I had the option I would eat my way through both Japan and Spain. Both countries have such a remarkable food history and to be able to travel to the different regions in each country to understand the nuances would be an unreal experience.