Guests: Episodes with Evan Funke

Renowned Los Angeles chef, Evan Funke, has a rich history in the culinary world. Having spent six years honing his skills under the guidance of Wolfgang Puck at Spago, Beverly Hills’ emblematic restaurant, Funke took his expertise to Italy. There, he worked under Alessandra Spisni, a master pasta maker at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese in Bologna. This apprenticeship was transformative for Funke; it was during this time that he fine-tuned the traditional art of hand-making pasta, a skill that significantly influenced his cooking approach. With twenty years of experience under his belt, Funke now runs Felix Trattoria in Venice, California, where he integrates seasonality, cordial hospitality, and the regional culinary customs of Italy.

Funke is more than just a chef—he’s a guardian of Italian tradition and a savant of the ancient art and culture of handmade pasta. His celebrated cookbook, “American Sfoglino,” unveils the charm and tradition of sfoglia (a type of hand-rolled pasta originating from Emilia-Romagna). The book was acknowledged with the 2020 IACP Award for Best Cookbook, Chefs and Restaurants, and the 2020 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Photography. Funke is presently putting together his second book, slated for a 2022 release.

In 2018, Tastemade produced “Funke,” a full-length documentary capturing his culinary journey up to the launch of Felix in Los Angeles. After premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the film is now available on Tastemade, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Furthermore, the eight-part docu-series, “Shape of Pasta,” produced by Ugly Brother Studio, explores Funke’s expedition across Italy to conserve the country’s uncommon and obscure traditional pasta shapes. “Shape of Pasta” can currently be viewed on the Roku platform.

Funke’s Fingers Crossed, which opened in Hollywood in August 2020, is his heartfelt tribute to Roman pizzerias. This straight-up Roman eatery is a collaborative project between Funke and Relevant Hospitality, operating as a six-month residency. It’s housed in a breezy patio along Dream Alley, offering patrons an alfresco dining experience.

Lastly, Funke’s Felix Trattoria embodies the essence of Italian culinary tradition combined with Californian agricultural bounties. Co-owned with Janet Zuccarini, Felix, which is Latin for “happy” or “lucky,” brings the finest of Italy to Abbot Kinney in Venice, California.