In a Great Mood
When you talk to Collin Crannell, chef and co-owner of the Moody Rooster, you hear gushing enthusiasm where only a cliché will do it justice: “When you love what you do, it’s not work.”
Crannell, whose quirky-named Westlake Village eatery described as modern American opened early fall, peppers his sentences with “love.” As in, “I love that adrenaline rush of being on the line [in the kitchen].” Or “I’m loving cooking all day long.”
So it’s no wonder that his lunch and dinner menus are always changing, reflecting the ingredients that are available at this moment and his excitement for his new endeavor.
Crannell started his culinary career at a pizza restaurant while in high school. After a brief detour into graphic design, he pursued hands-on learning at a Paris restaurant. Over the years, he worked in several top-tier LA restaurants and was the executive chef at The Lobster in Santa Monica before he and his wife, Vicki, opened the Moody Rooster in the ’burbs.
Crannell’s farm-to-table focus brings him to the Westlake Village Farmers’ Market on Sundays, just steps from the restaurant’s front door. He also has relationships with other farms, with Dock to Dish, which connects area fishermen with chefs, and he sources grass-fed beef.
“The menu is based off what I find at local farms,” he says, describing his style as French based. Cooking Italian food is a love—where you make “simple dishes that taste great because the produce is in season, the product is very fresh, the best quality at that point.” And using Thai, Japanese, Moroccan flavors, he says, and Mediterranean, Greek …
“I love it all. I just don’t want to be held down.”
A Caesar salad is the only thing you won’t find on his menu because, well, been there, done that.
For winter, expect to see dishes featuring root vegetables, winter squashes, Swiss chard, braised lamb, hearty dishes, he says riffing ideas. “If it starts getting cold, I love French onion soup. I might have to do something like that. … If the weather stays warm, I’m going to keep it light.” He also adores making pasta, so don’t be surprised if you see a housemade tortellini on the menu.
“I love being creative,” Crannell says. “That’s what I’m having have fun with—being creative in my own restaurant.”
2891 Agoura Rd., Westlake Village