This Summer, Select Pantry Items Created by California Chefs That Give Familiar Dishes Unexpected Twists

The foraged pantry.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink
  • Written by
    Heather Platt
  • Photographed by
    Nikki Smith

1. Chef Spencer Bezaire launched his heavy, charred-pepper hot sauce, made with locally farmed produce, to help keep his Silver Lake restaurant Eszett afloat during the pandemic. Now Eszett has reopened and, well, the hot sauce is still hot; $20,

2. Gino Angelini opened his eatery on Beverly Boulevard 20 years ago, and today Angelini Osteria is still packing ’em in. Craving his sauce but don’t feel like going out? You’re in luck. Jars of his famed classic marinara, arrabbiata and creamy lemon Parmesan can be picked up at grocery stores like Gelson’s and Pavilions as well as on Amazon.

3. Chef Jordan Kahn of Vespertine makes and sells coveted pantry items for his daytime café/shop Destroyer, like this organic apple vinegar infused with foraged Mexican marigold leaves. It is great for upgrading salad dressings, shrub cocktails and sauces; $12

4. Oakland-based SugarRoti provides organic, pre-measured, single-use Indian spice-blend packets, with recommended recipes. The goal is to provide home cooks with do-it-yourself Indian meals in less than an hour—everything from butter chicken to chai muffins; $8.99

5. This bottle of the crunchy, spicy, trendy oil comes from acclaimed pastry chef Max Boonthanakit—formerly at Nightshade in Downtown L.A. (currently closed due to the pandemic). Boon sauce is an homage to his Thai/Chinese background, and its habit-forming tang has garnered a cult following; $18

6. Developed by Los Angeles-based Chef Diep Tran, Red Boat recently launched Kho Sauce, a ready-to-use combination of the brand’s family-recipe fish sauce, shallots and ginger. The sauce is intended for braising fish, pork and poultry for Vietnamese dishes like thit kho trung (braised pork belly with egg) $8.95

7. Chef Craig Thornton of the underground event dinner series Wolvesmouth has partnered with cofounder Fred Michaels to launch Howl, a line of chef-driven, plant-based foods. Their vegan cashew “Mac & Chef,” available in classic cashew and spicy chipotle, is available at Whole Foods, Thrive Market and at

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