Try it and refine it. That’s the philosophy of Executive Chef Gabriel Ask, who keeps his menus as fresh as the ingredients he handpicks at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.
Since joining Montage Beverly Hills in 2011, Chef Ask’s innovative spirit has guided the creation of £10 — named Best Bar in the World by Virtuoso Travel Week — and brought new passion and artistry to Parq Bar, The Rooftop Grill, special events, private dining, catering and conference services and banquets.
Chef Ask’s appetite for change leads to seasonally inspired menus that offer everything from Vietnamese Bánh Mi Sandwiches to Toast Skagen, a traditional Swedish appetizer. Raised in Sweden, Chef Ask admits to a soft spot for dishes his grandmother taught him, such as Brun Kal (Brown Cabbage) made with maple syrup and sweet, late summer apples, and Rod Kal (Red Cabbage) braised with bay leaves, wine, red beets and mustard seeds. Both dishes are often slow-cooked with Swedish sausages and ham.
After learning the basics of cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen, Chef Ask launched his culinary career working for award-winning chef Thomas Keller at the famed French Laundry, and further honed his skills under the tutelage of other prestigious chefs, including Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon. Most recently, Chef Ask served as Executive Sous Chef for The Resort at Pelican Hill. Prior to that, he was with the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
In his free time, Chef Ask enjoys being with his wife and son, skiing, golfing, traveling, and cooking with friends.
Chef/Owner, Scarpetta Los Angeles
Scott Conant brings a deft touch and unwavering passion to creating food that is unexpected and soulful at Scarpetta and Faustina at The Cooper Square Hotel, both in New York City. Scarpetta garnered a glowing three-star review from The New York Times and was named one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire magazine.
In 2008, Conant opened Scarpetta at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau resort, which received a four-star review from The Miami Herald. In 2009, Scarpetta received a nomination for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. In June 2010, Conant opened a Scarpetta at the Thompson Toronto. Scott will also open D.O.C.G, a new wine bar at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which is slated for December. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Conant was named one of America’s Best New Chefs by Food & Wine magazine in 2004. He has appeared on The Today Show, MARTHA and Bravo’s Top Chef. On the Food Network, Conant can also be seen as a guest judge on “Chopped” and as host of the “24 Hour Restaurant Battle.” Conant has published two cookbooks: New Italian Cooking and Bold Italian.
Executive Chef, Scarpetta Los Angeles
Freddy Vargas joined Scarpetta Los Angeles as Chef de Cuisine in 2010 leading an award winning team of chefs, sommeliers and servers while overseeing the day-to-day operations in the kitchen.
Vargas began his career with Chef Scott Conant at Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2008 where he spent one year as Sous Chef before moving to New York to work as Chef de Cuisine at the flagship location. Prior to joining Chef Conant’s team, Vargas held the position as a cook at David Burke & Donatella in New York’s Upper East Side from 2006 to 2007.
A graduate of the American Culinary Institute of New York in 2005, Vargas enjoys being a leader, but says it’s his relationships with the guests and knowing what they really like that allows him to truly be creative in the kitchen.