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No. 1 on Jonathan Gold list: Providence Restaurant's Michael Cimarusti's life-changing trip to Japan

Michael Cimarusti, teacher, and rice.
Michael Cimarusti, teacher, and rice.
Courtesy Michael Cimarusti

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UPDATE: The LA Times Jonathan Gold has once again named Providence the best restaurant in LA. "Cimarusti may be a supremely creative chef, but his restaurant has many of the classic virtues." A few years ago, the restaurant's owner, Michael Cimarusti, took a life-changing trip to Japan, and told us about it in this Off-Ramp exclusive.

Michael Cimarusti, owner/chef of Providence, the two-star Michelin restaurant, is a damn good chef. But he's a humble one, and came back from a fellowship to Japan with a new respect for the thousands of years behind Japan's cuisine. Come inside as he gives Off-Ramp an exclusive travelogue of his trip.

The backstory: Before Thanksgiving, I interviewed a series of LA chefs about the holiday. Michael was a little sad because he'd be out of the country -- specifically, he was taking a cook's tour of Japan. It was a fellowship designed to show him the breadth and depth of Japan's traditional cuisine. When he got back, he immediately agreed to sit down and tell us all about it. I knew it'd be something special, because he was so enthusiastic.

Above, you'll see the long version of our interview. That's for sitting back and immersing yourself as one of the world's best chefs tells you what he learned on a magical trip.

You'll also see the short version if you're in a hurry ... and here are Michael's own photos of the trip in an Off-Ramp slideshow:

And on YouTube if you're using an iPhone:

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