Spread the love

The Raw Deal

Fruits & Veggies Go Au Naturale at M.A.K.E.

THE EXPERT: Scott Winegard, Chef/Director of Culinary Operations at M.A.K.E.

Written By: Janea Wilson

Photographed By: Angel Manuel

Tucked away in The Market at Santa Monica Place, M.A.K.E. restaurant serves up the coolest in vegan cuisine. Cool as in cold—it’s raw! The dining concept at M.A.K.E. by Matthew Kenney is all about plant-based eating. If that sounds intimidating or too hippie dippie, you shouldn’t let that deter you. Their Director of Culinary Operations, Scott Winegard, brings more to the table than just your standard veggie burger. In fact, nothing at M.A.K.E. is what you would consider standard.

At the restaurant, you’ll find a communal bar where diners can experience a show of the chefs preparing a tasting menu while enjoying a fresh pressed juice or a cocktail. The bright, open dining room is imbued with the warmth of natural wood surfaces juxtaposed with the minimal design to keep the focus all about the food. Winegard shows his appreciation for the local, seasonal produce he plates up. The carefully beautiful on their own, and they deserve the respect and credit.

Angel-hi-res-IMG_8216

Q: Do you ever envision the “healthy” lifestyle becoming more affordable/accessible?

SW: The more it is made available and kept in the spotlight it will happen. When I was first traveling and touring with bands, you couldn’t even find soy milk unless you went to a small health food store. Now you can get plenty of alternatives to dairy milk in your local grocery store.

Q: Where does your culinary passion, specifically vegetarianism/veganism and raw foods, come from? Fruits & 

SW: I had an epiphany on tour with a band while in Europe. I just kept thinking I wanted something else. I turned vegetarian at an early age and worked mostly at a vegan restaurant. I was always interested in food, diet and nutrition. I always surrounded myself with artists of some sort. My friends and I crafted dishes are nothing short of beautiful, with the vegetables taking center stage. Driving Winegard’s menu is a blend of the seasoned chef’s personal taste, availability, and a little bit of experimentation.

Q: As the Director of Culinary Operations,  how do you keep the menu at M.A.K.E. fresh…no pun intended?
Scott Winegard: I work with the chefs closely, and we visit the Santa Monica and other farmers markets every week to see what is coming into season. We speak directly with the farmers and ask what’s coming in next and how long the season for certain vegetables and fruits lasts.

Q: I recognized your name from my emo punk phase, and put it together that you’re a member of Texas is the Reason. How do you think music and culinary arts intersect?

SW: I have always spent my time working in restaurants. I was lucky enough to find a restaurant to spend a long time at where I agreed with their philosophy and respected the owner and chefs. It was in the East Village of NYC and at that time, the community was filled with all types of artists and musicians. While we went on tour, it was my job to find us the best vegetarian food to eat. As soon as we met the promoters of our shows, I would ask where the best restaurants to eat vegetarian were. Today we see a lot of musicians acting as foodies. We were searching for this more out of necessity.

Q: How does your musical background influence what you put on your menus and what kind of reaction do you get from your customers?

SW: Growing up in the hardcore punk and independent music scene there was a huge focus on responsibility to yourselves and the world around you. The vegetarian movement was strong. DIY ethics still definitely influence every decision I make for our restaurants whether it be where we source our vegetables or the process in our recipes.

Q: Your plating is spectacular. It’s really fine and detailed. What are you thinking about when you’re designing your plates?

SW: Thank you! I really don’t think much about the plating until it happens. My main focus is that every item that goes onto the plate is prepared as perfectly as it can to relate to the others that will go on to the plate. I hear that a lot, but believe it or not my main concern is taste. The vegetables are beautiful on their own, and they deserve the respect and credit.

Q: Do you ever envision the “healthy” lifestyle becoming more affordable/accessible?

SW: The more it is made available and kept in the spotlight it will happen. When I was first traveling and touring with bands, you couldn’t even find soy milk unless you went to a small health food store. Now you can get plenty of alternatives to dairy milk in your local grocery store.

Q: Where does your culinary passion, specifically vegetarianism/veganism and raw foods, come from?

SW: I had an epiphany on tour with a band while in Europe. I just kept thinking I wanted something else. I turned vegetarian at an early age and worked mostly at a vegan restaurant. I was always interested in food, diet and nutrition. I always surrounded myself with artists of some sort. My friends and I were (and still are) skateboarders, graffiti writers, photographers, musicians and artists. I think it all came together when I saw that there were chefs doing plates that were more than a meat and two sides. The book “Charlie Trotter’s Vegetables” was a big influence, and when I heard about and tried “raw food” for the first time, it blew my mind. When I saw what Matthew Kenney was starting to do and what Roxanne Klein was doing, I had to be a part of that.

Q: What do you see as the appeal to a raw vegan diet?

SW: I think it generally makes people feel good, and if it’s done right, it lets great organic ingredients speak for themselves.

Angel-hi-res-IMG_8235

Q: Who are some of your influences right now? Who or what inspires you to keep cooking?

SW: There are so many: the students that come to learn at our academy, the farmers, my friends that are doing different things worldwide and tons of chefs that I work with and worked with or that I follow from afar that care more than just putting food on a plate. My bike ride to Santa Monica from Venice every day. The Pacific Ocean. Fruit trees growing on the streets. I can go on and on.

Q: I would imagine without dairy it can be difficult to come up with many desserts, so that requires a lot of creativity and thinking outside of the cow. What is your favorite course to experiment with?

SW: We have lots of luck using nut milks and other sources of plant-based fats. Coconut is an amazing asset we have. Matthew makes a great chocolate pudding using avocado that you would never know it had avocado if you weren’t told and even then you would not know.

Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or releases you want to share or talk about? A follow-up cookbook to “Plant Food”?

SW: We have quite a few things happening, A new book is in the talks. A new restaurant in Venice, a restaurant and academy in Miami, a juice bar in Culver City. I may even have a new music group to play with…

Q: What advice or tips do you have for anyone who wants to begin a raw and/or vegan diet?

SW: Have fun, go slow and don’t beat yourself up if it gets tough. Come to M.A.K.E. and eat!

M.A.K.E.
396 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.394.7046 | www.matthewkenneycuisine.com/hospitality/m-a-k-e-santa-monica/

eggies Go Au Naturale