Today we interview chef Govind Armstrong.
I was born in Inglewood, California and spent my childhood between Los Angeles and the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Growing up, I spent a lot of time gardening with my mom, Thelma. That hobby evolved into a genuine interest in cooking and by the age of twelve I was catering my mom’s little get-togethers. At thirteen, I managed to finagle my way into a summer apprenticeship at Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant, Spago.
After that, there was no turning back. As a young man, I got to work for Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton at Campanile; Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger at their seminal City restaurant; and Joachim Splichal at Patina and Pinot. It’s been amazing to gradually become friends and colleagues with these early mentors and to feel like I’ve been a part of LA’s developing dining scene. Of course, I did the European chef thing as well – staging at Arzak and Akelarre in San Sebastian, Spain. I’ve opened casual and formal restaurants in New York and Miami, but Los Angeles is my true home base and where I love to be – cooking with (and for) my family.
Currently, I am the chef and co-owner at Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills and Willie Jane in Venice Beach, CA. We serve California-framed, southern style dishes. The food is ingredient and market driven and sourced from onsite gardens that I’m lucky to have at both spots. Opening Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills has been an amazing experience. For three years in a row, we have been recognized by Jonathon Gold of the LA Times as one of LA’s Best Restaurants. To return to a neighborhood that I essentially grew up in, be part of its rebirth and introduction to the food scene and to be recognized for excellence is something that the whole team is proud of.
I’m also still having fun with the 8 oz. Burger Bar concepts ( since I am a Certified Angus Beef brand ambassador chef) at LAX, in Seattle, Louisiana and Mississippi. There is nothing like a good burger, and even though the burger trend was big for a while – a great burger is still too hard to find.
Certified Angus Beef brand ambassador chef
As for his personal style:
Pants: I’m a chef and a dad. We don’t wear chic pants.
Suits: See above – but when I must, I go Zegna.
Shoes: J.M. Weston Derby Shoes (when I’m feeling fancy there is nothing like a dress-up steel toe) and Blundstone Boots (great for cheffing, gardening and right out to dinner – though my lady may disagree).
Accessories: Willow, my 4-year-old daughter, gets to pick out my watch every morning. She usually chooses the Panerai or the simple Shinola or the slim Rado. I also wear a Jennifer Fisher dogtag with Willow’s name and birthdate on it. Occasionally I inadvertently accessorize with glittery Frozen stickers that I forget to peel off before my day in the outside world begins.
Favorite Cologne: I don’t even wear deodorant. I’m Costa Rican – I smell really good.
Your favorite App: I live in Los Angeles and have become a reluctant fan of Waze. You can easily spot a Waze user; we are the ones trying to make left turns off of stop signs against four lanes of Rush Hour oncoming traffic.
Favorite piece of technology: My Sonos speakers. Nothing better than having each and every room in your house filled with synced (or not so synched) music