Call of the Wild | Red Medicine

Jordan Kahn embraces the foraging spirit at Red Medicine

Jordan Kahn is a chef more likely to forage for laurel leaves than rest on his own.

Three years into his stint as head chef of Beverly Hills' lauded Red Medicine, Kahn is busy reinventing himself. So far, we're captivated by the results.

Soon to disappear are many of the restaurant's Vietnamese-influenced dishes, replaced by what Kahn refers to as "New Naturalist" cuisine, an intricately plated, produce-intensive style that's heavily influenced by his foraging trips to the hills above L.A.

Collecting ingredients on a foraging trip (Photo by Jordan Kahn)

Recently that has meant additions like brown butter-sautéed mushrooms with wheat berries, obscured by a mound of young balsam fir branches, wild herbs and fried reindeer moss. The dish's resemblance to a forest terrarium is uncanny; it's even served on a pine tree slab.

But for each dish that cuts an imposing figure, there's a stark, simple-looking one: The new potatoes with crispy rice dumplings, poached in sweet yeast butter and balanced by a pool of wheatgrass juice, was a delicious study of white and green.

Redwood shaved ice dessert (Photo by Jordan Kahn)

Kahn's background as a Michael Mina pastry chef manifests itself in whimsical, intensely floral desserts. For one, the chef fills a fishbowl with redwood-scented shaved ice, sour currants, orange blossom foam and jasmine pastry cream, then seals it with a sheet of almond praline.

Has there ever been a more exciting time to visit Red Medicine? We don't think so–at least, not until Kahn returns from his next adventure into the woods.