Café M not only changed in technology and style but also ushered in new faces from CulinArt, a contract dining service company operating throughout the northeast and California. Chef Frederico Cox, or “Chef Fred,” the head chef of Café M, has worked in environments ranging from fine dining to catering.
Cox previously worked for the Wolfgang Puck restaurant as part of his training with Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art. He then trained at Bastide, a French restaurant on Melrose. After, Cox was the executive chef for Samba, a Brazilian steakhouse at Redondo Beach. Then, he was a freelance chef with the Patina group.
As a trainee at Bastide, Cox worked with Alain Giraud on French provincial cuisine. Cox worked mostly at the pastry station, making tourines, amause bouche, and wine jellies.
Cox said he loves making high-end food because of all the intricate details that go into the effort.
“Every plate is like a work of art when it comes out of the kitchen–almost like a painting,” Cox said.
As executive chef at Samba, a restaurant with a more spontaneous atmosphere that included Brazilian dancing on the weekends, he prepared simpler food.
Working at Samba was a “completely different experience geared more to the more young crowd,” Cox said. “It was a lot of work.”
As a freelance chef for the Patina Group, Cox worked with many chefs to produce the amount of quality food necessary for events like the Grammy’s and the Oscars.
In the current cooking world, competition is at a boiling point. Restaurants don’t hire people who don’t have culinary skills. Cox said that training and a bit of luck were his tickets to success.
“I have had a bit of luck. The training at the Bastide was very important in terms of opening doors. I was very fortunate to work as an executive chef right out of school,” Cox said.
Cox has been an employee CulinArt, a company that shares his philosophy on cooking, for four years. With CulinArt, he has cooked for the Los Angeles Times and Cresmont College students.
Cox, as head chef of Café M, hopes to create different meals. He uses his many cookbooks to try to create new food items.
“We cook what we want,” Cox said. “Think of [Café M] as a dining center, not as a cafeteria.”
Many Café M customers agree the food is very satisfying and have a positive view on the CulinArt change.
Marielle Meyer ’14 said, “they’re always [saying], ‘Thank you for waiting.’”
Two other CulinArt employees, Robert Tristen and Henry Flores, the pizza chef, were also quick to win the hearts of multiple students.
Lindsay Laddaran ’10 appreciated their amiable personalities.
“They don’t get stressed out when there are 3,000 girls. They maintain a friendly demeanor but they’re professional and fast at the same time,” Laddaran said.