McCarty also mentored Bashan in the tenets of California cuisine, greatly influencing his culinary perspective. Every Wednesday and Saturday, Bashan walked the block from the restaurant to the Santa Monica farmers market, building relationships with growers and learning the art of shopping California’s freshly-picked produce.
After staying on at Michael’s for seven more years as executive chef, Bashan sensed that his career had plateaued. A new restaurant named Providence had just opened in Hollywood and Bashan found himself seeking out renowned chef and restaurant owner Michael Cimarusti and following his culinary dream of working under a master chef. Cimarusti did not have a chef de cuisine or sous-chef position available and felt skeptical, according to Bashan, that an executive chef could fit in on the cooking line.
“I proved to him that I really just wanted to work under him and I didn’t care about position. It was really still about learning,” said Bashan. “I think he really appreciated that and he hired me as a lead-line cook.”