Alameda Supper Club: Simply Stunning
“The Manufactory is a special place,” says Chef Chris Bianco as he sits in the dining room of his restaurant, the Alameda Supper Club.
For thirty years Chef Bianco has been famous for his pizzeria, Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona. He has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, by Zagat, and by luminaries such as Oprah and Martha Stewart for his work.
He opened The Manufactory late last year with his close friend Chad Robertson, who is equally recognized for his bakery Tartine in San Francisco. The two of them together represent an incredible pinnacle of food excellence, and the notion that they opened a place like The Manufactory in DTLA -- this bakery/coffee shop/market/restaurant(s) -- is thrilling.
You could call Alameda Supper Club the fine-dining section of The Manufactory, but understand that the whole place is of a quality unparalleled.
“I think it’s a very critical time [for LA],” says Chef Bianco. “It’s a beautiful renaissance of chefs and of people that care about food. It’s exciting to come to LA. Some of my dearest friends are here.”
“If I could use one word to describe Chef Bianco it would be ‘inspiring’”, says Alameda Supper Club’s Chef de Cuisine, Lee Foden-Clarke. “I’ve never worked in a relationship where my boss had the mentality of Chris.”
Chef Bianco sees his role as a mentor to Chef Foden-Clarke and the rest of the Alameda Supper Club team. “I’m here to show them that it’s ok to be vulnerable,” he says. “I was a young chef once, and it’s important to understand that your vulnerability is a great power.”
“What I try to do for our chefs and our team is to provide a template for them to be creative,” says Chef Bianco. “[Robertson and my] job is to throw them an idea. Whatever would be appropriate for the event we’re doing.”
“The food at Alameda Supper Club is sheer simplicity,” explains Foden-Clarke. “Each dish starts with one main ingredient. We focus on seasonality. Our backbone is Italian, we showcase California produce, but we draw on English influence as well,” he says.
Chef Foden-Clarke is from Padstow, a small fishing town in southwest England. “It’s picturesque,” he says. “It has fisherman sailing up to the dock, climbing up the ladder and walking into the back of the kitchen’s door with the day’s fresh catch. That was the first restaurant I worked in, and seafood is very close to my heart. We worked very hard to find exemplary fish suppliers in Los Angeles.”
The dishes at Alameda Supper Club are simply gorgeous. You can see the passion and discipline Foden-Clarke and his team posses in everything you eat. The oysters and fish are as fresh and as simply and perfectly prepared as can be. The pasta is sublime, and the little bites of cheddar and ham toast are truly mouthwatering.
Not to be outdone, bartenders Nick Meyer and C.J. Catalano have crafted some incredible cocktails. “A big part of our inspiration is the chef’s food,” says Meyer. “It’s a cool dynamic to work with the chefs.”
The Alameda Supper Club gives young chefs and bartenders and opportunity to truly shine under the encouraging supervision of a masterful chef. Chef Bianco is right: The Manufactory is a special place.
Written by Abel Horwitz | Photography by Rebekah Lemire