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Behind the Scenes with Bestia Sous Chef Rusty Reed

Rusty Reed is a really great sous chef that we are grateful to have on our team. Beyond his cooking talents he remains one of the most humble and warmest faces in our kitchen. We are equally grateful for his freestyle rapping skills that should not be underestimated. If you have the chance to listen to him rap it’s definitely not something to be missed.

Rusty truly lives by the rule of no regrets. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he was working towards becoming a paramedic when he started washing dishes as a side job. He found himself going into work earlier and earlier to learn from the cooks and soon realized his true passion was cooking.

We caught up with Rusty and asked him a few questions to get to know him even better.

What’s a secret skill that no one knows about?
Beyond my freestyle rapping, I have a few tricks from growing up that never went away. I’m really good at yoyo-ing, skateboarding, and can do a handful of magic tricks (just enough to impress you).

What is the hardest part of what you do?
The hardest thing about what I do is definitely consistency. Being a consistent leader and always maintaining the level of work and being on top of your game. If you’re not always on top and have an off day it makes everyone you work with have an off day too. Every single day you have to come into work and be ready to go.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Paella. I’ve been really into Spanish food lately.

What is your favorite dish at Bestia?
For me it would have to be the Smoked Branzino Stew. It has so much balance and flavor. It tastes like something your grandma would make you as a kid. Also the Porterhouse. We only have it once a week and the marinade we put on it makes it so tender and it has so much flavor.

What have you had to sacrifice to be a Sous Chef at Bestia?
Being a sous chef you sacrifice all types of things. Time with friends and family, sometimes sunlight being inside all day! In my case, co-workers have become friends and family (which is definitely not a bad thing). Relationships are also difficult as it’s hard to date someone outside of the industry with our crazy schedules.

What are places you like to eat that a typical person who’s into food in LA wouldn’t know about?
Cassell’s for sure! Some people know about it but it’s so cool that it’s a diner, in a hotel, in Korea town. It’s simple food that is done really well and it’s not a place you would expect to be good.

Where have you eaten in LA that the food was unexpected and why?
Broken Spanish – I worked at Bar Ama so I’m used to a different take on Mexican food that is delicious. Mexican food is always good but usually it’s pretty similar. Broken Spanish was crazy – they took a simple classic cuisine but made it really excel. It still tastes traditional but has an extra flare to it.

What is the most important piece of kitchen equipment that you didn’t think you would use?
Lately it’s been my scissors. I have these tiny scissors I always used to keep in my bag. I’ve been pulling them out lately for little things like cutting cheesecloth, opening a wine bottle and it has stuck. You’d think it would be my knife or peeler but now it’s my scissors so I keep it in my pocket all the time now.

What are your personal demons that hold you back?
I used to be unsure about being 100% committed to the cooking world. It’s hard to be all or nothing in this industry. Once you give in to it 100% it becomes you. The only thing left is fear of failure but that pushes me more to be successful and better.