CF: I'm best known for my _______ cooking but I can make one hell of a _______. 
CL: refined, tasting menu-style; breakfast 

CF: A few words your sous chef would use to describe you. 
CL: Hard but fair. 

CF: What are you most excited about right now in your restaurant? 
CL: Dried and aged abalone from Iwate in Japan. The texture and flavor of dried versus fresh abalone are totally different. When high-quality dried abalone is prepared properly, it has a dense, silky texture like cured egg yolks, and the flavor becomes intense in glutamates so it's wonderfully rich and savory. The ones available domestically are questionable and I only recently found a reliable supplier in Hong Kong that can supply us. 

CF: Which chef would you drop everything to stage with? 
CL: Chef Jiro Ono. I ate at his restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, in 2006 and it left a great impression on me. It was a lesson in how to distill a restaurant down to what really matters. 

CF: Insider tip from the kitchen for your diners. 
CL: We write custom menus for our regulars. On any given night, we have several different menus being offered simultaneously based on what you've had before. 

CF: Message to professional food critics. 
CL: Anonymity is overrated when critiquing restaurants. Knowing who you are allows us to service you better, whether you're a critic or a regular diner. Opinions about food are highly subjective, and even critics have preferences or dislikes. The more we know about our guests, the better their experience will be. 

CF: One piece of advice for aspiring young chefs. 
CL: Be patient. Invest the time to really learn how to cook and work in a kitchen before trying to manage it. It will pay off in the long run.