A native of Czechoslovakia, Kamil Majer discovered his affinity for the culinary arts as a child while watching his mother cook with fresh, handpicked ingredients. As an adult, he escaped persecution in his home country, traveling through Slovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia before reaching Boston. There, he took an entry-level job washing dishes at the renowned Colonnade Hotel before relocating to Los Angeles in 1992. Kamil launched his West Coast culinary career as a chef at such prominent venues as the Century Plaza Hotel, the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, and downtown’s Los Angeles Biltmore. After helping to establish a number of successful high-end restaurants, he shifted his focus to casual venues with a renovation of the Vienna Café in 1995.
After more than a decade in the culinary industry, Kamil began developing plans for a casual, affordable Hollywood café based on the belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. He and friend David Fris collaborated on the project, drawing on their shared Czechoslovakian heritage to craft an eclectic array of internationally inspired breakfast and lunch options. The Blu Jam Café opened in 2006 on Los Angeles’ iconic Melrose Avenue, named in honor of its location’s rich history. Previously an underground jazz club, it hosted such iconic musicians as Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, and Blu Jam continues to honor this tradition with its music and decor.
Encompassing influences from Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, Los Angeles offers a culinary culture as vibrant and varied as its community. Recently, a number of local restaurants received an award recognizing their dedication to authentic international cuisine.
Six restaurants located throughout Los Angeles County received the Overseas Quality Restaurant award from the Overseas Community Affairs Council in Taiwan. Established by the Taiwanese federal agency in 2013, the award honors establishments that best represent Taiwanese cuisine and culture abroad. In addition to being in operation for three years or more, award winners must also maintain an A rating from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The council presented the Overseas Quality Restaurant award to 36 restaurants across the United States in 2014 and has recognized a total of 70 establishments throughout the U.S. and Toronto since the award’s inception.
Out of approximately 200 Taiwanese eateries located throughout Southern California, the Overseas Community Affairs Council chose to single out Fu-Shing Chinese Szechwan Cuisine in Pasadena, New Noodle King in Alhambra, Monja Taiker in Rosemead, both Uncle Yu’s Indian Theme Restaurant and Wonderful Restaurant in San Gabriel, and Pearl’s Restaurant in Monterey Park. Many of these establishments, including Pearl’s and New Noodle King, have served the Los Angeles metropolitan area for several decades.
In recent months, several new eateries have opened in the Los Angeles area that serve pizza worth trying. WOOD Handcrafted Pizza in Silver Lake offers fresh, local produce and Italian staples like anchovies and prosciutto. Each pizza comes perfectly singed for truly mouthwatering flavor.
In West Hollywood, visit DeSano Pizza Bakery for exceptional wood-fired Neapolitan pies. The chef imports ingredients directly from Italy for maximum authenticity. Diners can also enjoy small-batch gelato and homemade cannoli for dessert.
Downtown, Pellicola Pizzeria serves a pie that walks the line between New York City and Naples, Italy. Created by Giulio Adriani, famous for Forcella in New York City, the restaurant serves eight classics by the pie or the slice. For dessert, diners can opt for the Nutella pizza.
Also located downtown, Soleto Trattoria & Pizza Bar recently reinvented its menu to put a distinctly California twist on each Italian favorite. An 800-degree, wood-burning oven creates the perfect crisp crust.