SLICE OF SOTTO {Dishwasher, Laureano}

Laureano was working in a theater in Santa Monica five years ago when his friend, Anna, called him to come work at a new restaurant in Beverly Hills, Sotto. He has been the resident dishwasher at Sotto ever since.

He was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and loves Salvadorian food... he says the best Salvadorian food in Los Angeles is at Los Molcajetes (located at Hoover and 7th). He also enjoys going to Alahambra to eat a lot of Chinese food. 

He has a tattoo on his arm of a flower and the word "Margarita"... which was for an ex girlfriend in La Paz! 

Laureano is constantly snacking on crickets and brings them into Sotto for the rest of the team to snack on. 

He loves Winchells Coffee and when he goes he will bring home chocolate doughnuts for his two little grandsons to eat. 

SLICE OF SOTTO {Bar Director, Brynn}

Born and raised in a small rural town in Washington state alongside little farm animals and a half acre garden, Brynn was around nature and beautiful produce her whole life. As a kid she used to experiment with making natural perfumes and concoctions, which she now realizes was her own form of mixology. Luckily, Brynn has brought her talents to the big city, where she enjoys cooking, bad reality TV and A LOT of Britney Spears... Just to give you an idea, Brynn has seen Britney in concert 14 times "and counting!" She also has a pretty awesome Bartending blog, check it out here

Q: HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO MIXOLOGY?

"I got into mixology by responding to a Craigslist ad when I was unemployed that read "Want to learn exciting and new bar techniques and work for a growing restaurant group?". The next thing I knew I was at Rivera with all the best bartenders in the city one being Julian Cox and the rest is history! I really enjoyed the showmanship and fancynessof the way the bar veterans bartended. I had never seen it before!"

Q: WHAT COCKTAIL CREATIONS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

 "I am proud of all my cocktails... it is like saying one of your kids is your favorite! That being said, I do like a nice Tequila aromatic and always love making delicious dessert cocktails"

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST UNDERRATED SPIRIT AT THE SOTTO BAR?

"Definitely Amari. It is a personal goal of mine to teach people how amazing and special amaro can be. I am very inspired by the different flavors in every different amaro, it is endless inspiration. I make it a point to put them in a lot of my cocktails so that I can teach my guests about it and so they can really enjoy and be transported to what Italy tastes and feels like. Well at least that is my goal!"

Q: IF YOU WERE A COCKTAIL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

"If I was a cocktail I would be a Spritz! Something like the Bitter Bubbly on my recent cocktail list... easy going, bubbly, complex, refreshing with a touch of bitterness. Ha!"

Q: WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN'T BARTENDING?

"If I weren't a bartender I would be so sad! I really like making drinks, hosting people and making sure that they have a great, one of a kind experience that they will remember forever! I would probably still be auditioning and struggling as an actor so I am really lucky that I found my calling. I love that mixology gives me the opportunity to be creative and I am kind of putting on a private show for my guests. I can still be somewhat of a ham!"

SLICE OF SOTTO {The Intersection of Art and Food with Skylar Hughes}

Meet Skylar Hughes. You may have seen him in an art gallery, walking on the streets of Silverlake, or with a pen and notepad taking your order at Sotto. Many people like working in restaurants because they meet interesting people— many of whom are working to support their dream. Skylar is one of them, and he has brought this dream into Sotto as the creator and curator of the restaurant’s art. Traditionally a painter, Skylar had the idea to experiment with collage as he played around with the idea of layers, the old and the new, and the middle ground between representation and abstraction.

“Collage works well for this project because it draws on different images and inspirations to make something new. Chef Steve has done a great job of translating traditional dishes of the region and bringing them into a contemporary environment. Sotto is an invitation into that great line of tradition— these collages are meant to do the same.”

The backgrounds to these collages are paintings by notable Italian artists including Pontormo and Giotto that Skylar actually had the opportunity to see while studying painting and art history in Italy

“I don‘t expect people to be able to identify these images, most won‘t. They are just meant to be accessible and striking images that ground the work in a historical context, a nod to the past to show that we know where we come from and that we are moving things on down the line. That idea speaks to the cuisine, wine, and cocktail programs at Sotto, which celebrates Southern Italy through honest expression.”
"The actual collage elements come from many sources: books, magazines, packing materials, etc.— all found in second hand shops and flea markets. I draw and paint directly onto the materials and then flip them over so that the impression of the ink that has bled through is face up, therefore showing the “below“ or “beneath“ side of the image— the “Sotto” side (in Italian). This technique was discovered as a kind of happy accident in the studio when I dropped one of the drawn pieces and it landed upside down.”

"Sotto is very much a family. We work, eat, and spend a lot of time together. Everyone has a role based on their strength and has been given the opportunity to cultivate those talents. This is mine."

SLICE OF SOTTO {Pasta Making with Juan Torres}

A native of South Central Los Angeles, Juan has cooking in his blood. The oldest of three kids, he grew up helping his mom and cooking for his little sisters. The whole house was always filled the aromas of the Mexican comfort food his mother would offer anyone walking in her door. To this day, Juan can always be soothed with a warm bowl of frijoles after a long day. Juan went to UCLA and was planning on going Pre-Med and becoming a plastic surgeon. What was supposed to be a short break from school turned into a career when Juan went to San Francisco to help at his family‘s restaurant. He had caught the bug. Starting as dishwasher, Juan got more and more interested in cooking for a living. In 2010 he was part of CCAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) and was working in the kitchens of Neal Fraser. Since then, he has spent time at Vibiana, Short Order and Tender Greens, to name a few. In 2012 he joined Steve Samson at Sotto, cooking his way through the ranks to become the essential part of the team he is today.

 

Q: IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE WORD OF ADVICE TO AN ASPIRING YOUNG CHEF, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?

JT: “Passion or……Finesse”

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO COOK?

JT: “Pasta (Casarecce)”

 

Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?

JT: “People. My co-workers…..and making great food, of course.”

 

Q: WHO WAS A MENTOR TO YOU?

JT: “Elderoy from Tender Greens…..he really taught me that the little things matter, along with humbleness, and communication. He is a beast.”

 

Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT?

JT: “Coni‘s Seafood in Inglewood…aguachiles, so good!!”

 

Q: WHAT MUSIC DO YOU JAM OUT TO WHILE IN THE KITCHEN

JT: “Everyday is switches…..from Motown to Usher to Ice Cube….to Celine Dion”


Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A PART OF #TEAMSOTTO?

JT: “There is something about this place that is magnetic….it drags me here and I don‘t mind it!”