Welcome to the Stovetop Playlist.

The Online Kitchen of Wes Whitehead.

I began my cooking education at the side of my mother and father at home in Southern California.  Mom made dinner during the week and baked with the best of them all year long.  On the weekends, Dad would man the grill – finding an interesting recipe in the LA Times, Gourmet, or Bon Appetit; a love for good food made with love was instilled early.  In a family of foodies and world travelers, I was able to sample fare from some of the best restaurants in the world like Arpege in Paris and Arola in Madrid.  Living in NY for my collegiate years, I ate out as often as my budget would allow; being inspired by the cooking of Mario Batali, David Chang, the criminally underrated Scott Bryan, April Bloomfield, and Jonathan Waxman to name a few.  However it wasn’t until my first restaurant job that I learned true respect for the craft of cooking and the men and women who strive to master the art.

I say first restaurant job…though that’s not technically accurate.  I spent a month as an opening waiter for a BR Guest Restaurant called Vento in the Meatpacking District.  It was a 300 seat behemoth and needless to say, I didn’t last long.  After leaving Vento, I dropped resumes in and around the Lower East Side, where I was living at the time.  On a whim, I left a resume at renowned, NY Times 4 star and Michelin starred restaurant, WD-50.  Now, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get a job waiting tables at such a special restaurant (though I did lie on my resume)…but to my surprise I got a call from Dewey Dufresne, General Manager and father to Executive Chef Wylie Dufresne.  I had a meeting with Dewey the next day and somehow, I was hired as a waiter…I think Dewey liked me because I was polite, but in reality, I had no business working at a restaurant that good.  Lucky for me, I got the job, and it was an incredible crash course in fine dining service and incredibly sophisticated food.  I cannot thank Wylie, Dewey, and the entire WD-50 staff enough for their patience and guidance.

Despite the joys of working at a serious restaurant, Los Angeles soon beckoned me back in 2005.  Since my return, I spent time as a waiter at a number of excellent L.A. restaurants.  This gave me the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the city’s best chefs:  David Lentz at the Hungry Cat, James Beard Award winner Mark Peel at Campanile, Food and Wine Best New Chef Jason Travi at Bottle Rock, James Beard winner Suzanne Goin at Tavern, and Daniel Mattern at Ammo.  During times that I needed a break from serving, I worked as a prep cook for Jonathan Darr/LOVE Catering and eventually landed my first job as a personal chef.

Since then I’ve started out on my own trail, cooking for dinner parties large and small, and developing a more affordable way for people to experience private cooking in their own home.  This being Los Angeles, I’ve also had the privilege of cooking for a few well known folk, including:  Sascha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher, Alan Cumming, David Goyer, Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and Kirsten Dunst to name a few.  I specialize in meals that are healthy, fresh, seasonal, and low in refined sugars but without sacrificing flavor.  Several of my clients are gluten free and I am constantly exploring ways to make classic dishes that taste delicious while eliminating the fats, gluten, and sugars that make them so harmful to the body.  That being said, I still have a serious weakness for all the things that we’re not supposed to eat …there is a time and place for tofu and then there’s time for the three B’s:  Bacon, Butter, and Bread.

So have a look around the site, enjoy the recipes, and please don’t hesitate to contact me about my services.  I look forward to hearing from all of you and of course….Happy Cooking!