Here at the Truffle, we enter that time of year when we must make decisions about where to go on each various up-coming holidays. Between divorce and re-marriage and birth family and new family, and the growing tradition for Jewish Angelenos to celebrate Christmas, it has become all the more daunting to make plans.
But regardless if you are the host or if you are a guest, we have an idea to make your holidays a little more comforting this year … May we direct your attention to The Beverly Hills Kitchen - a high-end line of southern-style comfort food you can buy online for all these occasions.
The meals are a perfect fit for the holidays and include items like ham biscuits, lemon bars, bread pudding, brownies, potato pie, beef bourguinon, and more. So who is the brains behind this welcomed addition to the Beverly Hills status quo? A new friend to the Truffle, Alex Hitz, whose name we repeatedly heard for years, always in connection to his fried chicken dinner parties for fancy friends.
In the role of playing gracious host, Atlanta native Alex Hitz, author of My Beverly Hills Kitchen, is a mega-star. Use his do-ahead menu and tips for your own award-winning performance. Watch the So who goes? Everyone from Nancy Reagan, the former First Lady, to Wendy Stark, daughter of Ray Stark (who now has a cafe named after him at LACMA) and West Coast editor of Vanity Fair to Frank Bowling, the international Ambassador for the Montage Beverly Hills. There are two major dinners every year; one the night before the Oscars and the other at the end of each summer (the photos below are all from his most recent fete in summer 2010).
I first met Alex at a book signing he hosted for his friend Susan Fales-Hills to celebrate her new book “One Flight Up”. When I told my mother about his 20 ft high ceilings in his marble kitchen, the uniformed staff and white table clothes – along with the bacon wrapped figs and macaroni and cheese, she remarked that this town hasn’t seen such a personality behind comfort food since Maude Chasen closed her restaurant (now Bristol Farms) who use to be famous for serving mashed potatoes and chili alongside the most elegant of cuisine.
Alex learned to cook from his mother’s cook, Dorothy, while growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, and from his classical training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Alex cooks everything himself for his dinner parties, and even designed his whole kitchen from scratch; he says the only thing he regrets is not installing commercial equipment.
Alex owned a restaurant in Georgia before moving to Los Angeles where he came to produce films.
He is also the beneficiary to some Coca Cola shares wisely purchased by his grandfather before Coke was Coke. But most of all, he is a recipient of good breeding, taste and a lot of know-how; which is why we at The Daily Truffle are so excited he will be including the do’s & dont’s of serving and party etiquette in his cooking show, currently in the works.
1. How many parties do you have a year?
2 major parties – one in the summer and one the night before the Oscars and then 2 more along with several 8-to-10 people dinners throughout the year for birthdays or guests in from out of town.
2. What do you serve at your parties?
Southern comfort food: fried chicken, grits, cole slaw, ham biscuits, lemon bars.
3. What is a good entertaining tip?
Keep a schedule and stick to it.
4. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Anytime I had 3 days off at school, my mother would take take us [my brother and me] to our vacation house in France.
5. Where did you go to school?
Washington & Lee, University College London, and the Sorbonne in France for culture and civilization. And the Cordon Bleu in Paris later. I also went to Avon Old Farms in Connecticut for boarding school.
6. Where do you live now?
I spend half the year in New York, half in Los Angeles, and one month in Atlanta.
7. Where did you first learn to cook?
From my mother’s cook Dorothy.
8. I love your kitchen; did you build it?
I designed my whole house including the kitchen! My one regret is not putting in commercial equipment.
9. What is your background?
I was a restaurant partner in Atlanta.
10. What is Beverly Hills Kitchen?
A line of southern meals you can buy to entertain at home