By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter
It was nearly impossible to book a table at the beloved Draycott restaurant immediately after it opened. Flocks of Palisadians and nearby foodies slammed the reservation book for weeks as the British-inspired restaurant quickly became the talk of the town.
Now, Draycott owners Matt and Marissa Hermer are raising their own bar by hiring Executive Chef Josh Mason and General Manager Juan Ramirez to take their restaurant to the next level.
Mason, 29, will use his 12 years of experience to give the Palisades a little slice of British cuisine, relying on his training and time spent with world-renowned chefs like Rick Stein and Daniel Boulud.
“Juan [Ramirez], who I’ve worked with before, mentioned the Palisades and The Draycott and their British-style cooking, which is what I’m used to,” Mason said in an interview with the Palisadian-Post. “So I jumped at the chance to get in there and show what I can do and bring a little bit of England to California but with California ingredients.”
After Ramirez went to culinary school in New York City, he decided to transition to the front of house and began working at the Tribeca Grill with restaurateur Drew Nieporent before going to work for Boulud in London where he crossed paths with Chef Mason before coming to Los Angeles.
“I was very excited to join The Draycott having lived in London and having that cross between [the two places],” said Ramirez, who hopes to make the restaurant a place for anyone. “Whether it’s dinner with your kids … or a more extravagant dining experience, we can do that.”
New dishes will be coming to The Draycott’s menu, Mason said, as current ones will improve.
“We’re testing out things on our guests, and they’re going to have to look out for our fish and chips, because it’s going to be 10 times better,” he said.
“Josh has been in the kitchen a few days now and already I’m getting texts and emails … that people are so excited about the new flavors and the offering that’s coming out of the kitchen,” Marissa shared.
For her, rotating new items on the menu is just as important as improving the classics to keep their regulars happy.
“We’ve now been here six months, so there are crowd favorite dishes that we’re aware of, so we’re not veering too far away,” said Matt, who explained how the restaurant has been fine-tuning their staff since opening.
“But now we have the dream team of these two guys,” he added. “If we can get it right in the front of the house, which Juan has taken great steps to do, and then Josh can elevate the food, then it’s going to be a great partnership.”