The Ponte Chef Scott Conant Is Inspired by "Warmth, Grace, Kindness" | THR Eats

The James Beard Award-winning chef also says, for him, it's all about making the food "at a high level and making it taste good."

For chef Scott Conant, cooking was always his first love.

"I was 11 when I took my first classes. I was 15 when I got my first job, and I've been cooking ever since," the James Beard Award winner told The Hollywood Reporter.

When it came time to establish The Ponte, Conant's West Hollywood contemporary Italian restaurant with Los Angeles restaurateur Stephane Bombet, the chef says he knew the atmosphere needed to be just right. Says Conant, "I don't want a restaurant where you walk in and you have to be quiet. That's not fun. I want people to be a little bit louder."

For him, he says it's all about making the food "at a high level and making it taste good." However, he says it's also important to him to continue to put forth some traditional values he grew up on. Conant explains that he remembers his grandmother taking care of guests at her house. "She was always prepared for somebody to show up. That warmth, that graciousness, that kindness — that's the type of thing that inspires me."

At the end of the day, Conant says he understands there's a lot of places that people can choose to dine at. "There's always going to be a place with better food. There's always going to be a place with better service. There's always going to be a better ambiance."

However, he says, "Not every place can offer all three, and I think that's what we do pretty well."

In the video below, Conant also describes how to make The Ponte's ricotta gnudi or, as he calls it, "the inside of a ravioli without the pasta on the outside."

Explaining the dish further, he says, "So imagine that beautiful texture, that nice, soft, palatable, sensual interior of the ravioli."

And the amazing thing about gnudi? He jokes, "Doesn't have a single calorie, not a single calorie. It's amazing."