Top 20 Under 40 Los Angeles- Ilan Hall
Top Chef winner, Ilan Hall, brings a unique flavor to our Top 20 list.
In celebration of Shalom Life’s new Los Angeles office, we have decided to take our popular “Top 20 Under 40” series on the road.
Over the next 20 days, Shalom Life will showcase 20 individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds that have made a significant contribution to their field both locally and globally. From entrepreneurs to philanthropists, entertainers to chefs, this list places a spotlight on a small sampling of the spectacular, innovative, and passionate Jews that call Los Angeles home.
Top 20 Under 40- Ilan Hall
Ilan Hall, winner of the second season of Bravo’s 'Top Chef', brings his indefinable cooking style and incredible sense of humor to our Top 20 list.
Born to “travel-hungry Scottish and Israeli parents of Eastern-European descent”, Hall was introduced to international food at a very young age. His passion for cooking was sparked at the age of 5 after trying fried calamari in Greece.
“I was 5, in Greece, and I ate fried calamari for the first time. Crispy seawater. I needed more. I had to learn how to replicate that,” Hall shared.
As a teenager, Hall worked at a seafood store in his hometown of Great Neck, NY, before moving to Florence, Italy to train at the Lorenzo de Medici School’s Apicious program. After an externship at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole in New York, Hall graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and subsequently got his certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts at the school’s Napa campus in California.
Before winning Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’, Hall worked at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, and cooked in New York for Tom Collicchio at Craft and Mario Batali at Casa Mono under chef/owner Andy Nusser.
Hall now calls Los Angeles home after traveling the world for most of his life. In 2009, he opened his extraordinary first restaurant ‘The Gorbals’.
Describing his style of food as “crispy, salty, and obnoxious”, ‘The Gorbals’ menu features delicious one-of-a-kind items including popcorn gizzards, latkes with smoked applesauce, confit tongue, and his famous Nueske’s bacon wrapped matzoh balls- inspired by his Jewish heritage.
At the age of 30, Hall has already made a huge splash in the culinary industry, but ultimately he cites the birth of his son, Theo, as his greatest accomplishment.
Hall’s plans for the future are simple, explaining that “in 5 years, I will be in the kitchen, teaching my son how to braise a lamb shank. In 20, I’ll be driving around in my flying car, listening to some of that old gangster shit.”
Finally, Hall wants to be remembered as “a man who stood up to intolerance when it came to the prohibition of foie gras.”
(NOTE: If we chose to follow the bio Hall provided us with, we would also include that at the age of 27, “Ilan developed a form of energy that uses bacon to power a time machine. He has visited the Cretaceous period and has cooked Velociraptor eggs to a perfect over easy. He also visited an infant David Bowie and can personally confirm that he wrote the lyrics to the song ‘China Girl’”)
Click over to Page 2 to learn some fun facts about Ilan Hall!