EDITOR’S NOTE : This meal was picked up from Kitchen Place in Canoga Park (above), a space that Natureal Foods is no longer cooking from. For now it is home-based in Van Nuys but please contact the business before making plans.
Just this past Sunday the 14th of February, a beautiful meal was handed over from a smiling Bobyrobson Saloman, who anyone might like to have as their Valentine just seeing the joy that cooking and sharing gave to him. Some know Mr. Saloman as Boby Ohggy, a Haitian-born, Miami-raised hip hop artist, skin care product entrepreneur, model, and now future well-loved chef in Los Angeles.
On that day, the chef was in the last of just two weeks of using a shared rental commercial kitchen in Canoga Park called Kitchen Place. He has since moved his operations back into his home in Van Nuys, but regardless can offer delivery through all the apps if you cannot come for pickup. (Check his website for current information)
After picking up and being immediately enamored by his passion for everything, a little fear might creep in to how you feel about this chef. Here is this jovial 30 year old dude that seems even younger, and you start to wonder is this cooking just trying to fill the void of food landscape that currently does not have a Haitian restaurant since Tigeeorges shut down and whose one Haitian food truck is struggling to survive?
In all honesty, it was expected that this meal would be average. Solid even, maybe. But make plans to go pickup from Natureal Foods as soon as you can, as this meal was off the charts. It is important that Los Angeles makes this chef into a success before his hip hop career takes off too strongly. The city needs him to focus!
Over a brief chat, Mr. Saloman said he learned how to cook straight from his mother, mostly because he left her and Haiti behind when he was 14 and was on his own. His foundations for classics like poule en sauce ($10.99, above), which the menu reads “chicken stew,” are those of someone who has been cooking all his life and who has a very proud mother.
For takeout, the “stew” is packed separately, letting you recreate and heat the dish at home without anything getting soggy. Put both of the drumsticks over the Haitian-style rice and beans (also lovely) and drench everything. Even the side pasta salad is no afterthought.
If you have to pick a highlight, it is absolutely his griot ($9.99, above), listed on the menu as “fry pork.” Again, he gets it just right, delectably juicy cubes of fried pork shoulder that have an irresistible crisp on the outside. This is again served with rice and beans.
Any wonderful griot, especially the kind that makes you look at your dining partners and nod with wide eyes while chewing, deserves a proper pikliz, the condiment you will find ubiquitous in Haiti. He makes this himself of course, consisting of pickled cabbage and bell peppers while bringing all kinds of heat with slivers of Scotch bonnets.
Even the small side of baked mac & cheese ($3.99, left of top photo) is excellent and cooked with love. A completely new experience during this meal, the island spaghetti ($9.99, above) is a fun addition to the order. Haitians call this “espageti,” and if you also had not heard about this before, you have been missing out your entire life.
The dish is more earthy and subtle than the others but still very flavorful. Requested by children back home, it is even sometimes enjoyed with ketchup but thankfully no packets are included in the order so you do not have to feel bad about leaving that off. The chicken chunks are fully marinaded and delicious, each bite leaves you wanting more.
Natureal Foods, Van Nuys