Barbara Brass, vp sales for Wolfgang Puck Catering, has overseen the culinary side of the Academy Awards Governors Ball for 17 years, and she’ll do it again after the ceremony on Feb. 24. When the biggest event on her annual work calendar is over, however, she’s taking on a new passion project: putting on the chef’s toque herself.
From March 14 to 17, Brass will helm the kitchen at This Is Not A Pop Up, a roving restaurant – situated on those dates at Tiago Espresso Bar + Kitchen in Hollywood (7080 Hollywood Blvd.) – that invites chefs and other food-world figures in for experimentally minded weekly residencies.
Participants since opening in December have included Tyler Wells of artisanal-bean purveyor Handsome Coffee Roasters, Churchill chef Bruce Kalman and Top Chef participant C.J. Jacobson, most recently of The Yard in Santa Monica. The highly regarded Mark Peel, whose landmark mid-city restaurant Campanile shuttered last fall, will himself participate Feb. 21-24.
“I like to keep my brain challenged,” says Brass, known around town for her dinner parties and world-class wine collection. “This de-stresses me. I look at cooking as cathartic. It’s all about entertaining, having fun, talking to guests.”
Brass’ five-course tasting menu ($50) bears a homey, casual vibe. As she puts it, “I make food that’s not overly complicated.” Expect burrata with braised leeks, tomato bisque soup, farro salad, porchetta-style loin and a salted-caramel butterscotch budino dessert.