Brooke Williamson may have made her name on cooking competitions, but the Los Angeles native’s love for food goes back to her formative years. Williamson’s passion for the culinary arts started by watching onscreen celebrity chefs like Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. Years later, she would become a TV star herself, with champion runs on Top Chef, Knife Fight, and Food Network’s Tournament of Champions. Today, Williamson and her husband Nick Roberts own Playa Provisions, a restaurant complex featuring four distinct dining concepts in Playa del Rey.
During her appearance on the California Now Podcast, Williamson gives listeners a taste of the Playa Provisions experience and shares insights into her career, onscreen and off. She also takes the California Questionnaire, answering questions about her Golden State favorites. Here’s what she had to say.
Where do you live? Westchester, Los Angeles. Right by the airport.
Why there? It’s a great little neighborhood that has exploded in the last few years that’s close enough to work and close enough to the freeway that can get me anywhere in the city. And affordable enough so that I can have a house and a backyard for my dogs.
Who or what is your greatest California love? A drive up the coast. I love a drive up the coast through Malibu, specifically, maybe to Neptune's Net, which is one of my all-time favorite seafood shacks. It's just past Zuma Beach. It's the kind of place where you can go in, pick out your own seafood, have it steamed right there in front of you, and just enjoy the bounty of what the coast has to offer, directly on the coast.
What is the biggest misperception about Californians? That we are all vegetarian and eat tofu for a living.
What is the stereotype that most holds true? That we also eat healthier than most. I mean, there are two ends of the spectrum. I will say that my friends who live across the country don't eat as healthy and probably drink a lot more whole milk instead of oat milk and almond milk.
What is your favorite Golden State splurge? I'm going to go back to Malibu because I do love that drive, but also my son loves a meal at Nobu. Nobu Malibu for lunch on an afternoon, for just a couple of bites to eat and a beautiful view. It's not something that we can do all the time, but it is something that we really enjoy.
Time for a road trip—where are you going? Probably the desert. Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree. There's a hike that I love in Joshua Tree called Painted Ladders, and it's about half an hour past Palm Springs. It's some of the most beautiful giant-rock hiking that you can do in California.
If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? I think that there's something really wonderful to be said about taking advantage of the fact that we are right on the Pacific Ocean, and so much comes out of the ocean that can be enjoyed immediately. I love going down to the Redondo Beach Pier, and picking out fresh crab and oysters and clams, and just having them steamed and eating them right there.
Where would you go for the ultimate shopping spree in California? The Cabazon Outlets that are about 20 minutes outside of Palm Springs. Every designer store that you want to go to is there, and I can spend all day at that outlet mall and find everything I need.
Best California song? Joni Mitchell, it's just called “California.”
How would your California dream day unfold? I would probably start my day working out, just because I feel like that's the best way for me to wake up. Make my son crepes for breakfast, because that's what he has requested every Sunday since he was five years old. He likes Nutella crepes, and I love making them for him. I'm dreading the day that he no longer wants them. And then, maybe walk through the farmers’ market, maybe a bike ride down the coast. An early dinner, like a blue-hair special 5 p.m. dinner. Then in bed by 9 p.m., watching Ted Lasso or something.