Robert Lia

Chef Robert Lia,

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Robert Lia describes himself as an “old cooking soul.” He has been experimenting in the kitchen since he was 8 years old and got his professional start at age 15. His culinary career got an unexpected jumpstart when the kitchen staff of the restaurant he was working at walked out, leaving the owner with only his dishwasher – Robert. Robert came to task, preparing desserts and salads while the owner scrambled to cook for his full restaurant. He was instantly hooked on the thrill of fast-paced kitchen and has been working in restaurants ever since.

He has served as executive chef at several popular Southern California restaurants including Geoffrey’s Malibu, Cicada Restaurant and P6 Restaurant & Lounge. He also worked at two other fine dining restaurants, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant and McCormick & Schmick’s, before heading to Paris, France. In Paris, he worked at Express Bistro as executive chef, validating and rounding out his culinary career. He returned stateside to work at Sake Bistro and is now the current executive chef at The Villa in Woodland Hills, CA.

The dishes Robert creates stem from his experience and training in classic French cooking and from looking at food from a molecular level. He takes familiar ingredients, reinterprets them and arranges them in a modern presentation. He’s been using The Perfect Puree’s products for more than 12 years, both in his food menus as well as his cocktail menus. He often uses them as a base for jellies or in his molecular “caviars.” Below he shares his recipe for mango caviar, which accompanies his Lobster “Salad” and is made with Mango Puree. He has also created caviar pearls using Thai Basil & Black Pepper.

At The Villa, Robert frequently uses The Perfect Purée flavors, incorporating them into everything from desserts to cocktails to sauces. He is a fan of the products because of their consistency and versatility in both sweet and savory dishes. He says the packaging size is convenient and allows him to experiment with various flavors. He values that The Perfect Purée understands chefs and creates products based on what they need, both in taste and flavor as well as convenience.

He’s in a constant state of learning and exploring, expanding his culinary knowledge and experience. Robert is currently working on a second book project where he outlines the process of recipe development.

Recipe

Mango Caviar

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