Shirley Chung Named as Inaugural Chef at Abernethy’s/Downtown LA


Abernethy’s, Downtown Los Angeles’s newest spot for unique eats, today announced it will open its doors on September 5, 2019, at the newly renovated Music Center Plaza. Los Angeles, a melting pot of peoples, cuisines and cultures, begins a new chapter in its distinctive food story with the new full-service restaurant, a one-of-a-kind dining experience that will feature a new chef and menu every quarter. Abernethy’s will offer diners the opportunity to explore and taste diverse cuisines plated by rising Los Angeles chefs who were chosen for their culinary talent and entrepreneurship. Chef Shirley Chung of Ms Chi Café will serve as Abernethy’s inaugural chef.Abernethy’s Exterior

The Music Center created the Abernethy’s concept as part of the renovation of its Plaza, which includes a plan to offer an expanded array of food and beverage options and price points. In addition to Chung, Abernethy’s initial roster of emerging culinary artists will include  Chefs Pla and Fern Kaewtathip (Noree Thai on Beverly, Luv2eat Thai Bistro), Geter Atienza (Chef de Cuisine, The H. Wood Group and Broken Spanish), Ryan Costanza (Executive Chef, Freedmans Restaurant, Los Angeles, and Dija mara, San Diego) and Jason Fullilove (Chef/Owner, Barbara Jean). Each chef will take over Abernethy’s kitchen and design a limited-time menu of personalized dishes, giving foodies an ever-changing dining experience.  Abernethy’s Chicken Dumplings

To determine the initial roster for Abernethy’s extended pop-ups, The Music Center chose some of Los Angeles’s legendary chefs and tastemakers to identify the most talented, varied group of rising chefs throughout Los Angeles County. Abernethy’s Culinary Advisors include Chefs Govind ArmstrongSusan Feniger, Ray Garcia, Niki Nakayama and Curtis Stone; tastemakers Phil Rosenthal (TV writer/producer and producer/star of Somebody Feed Phil), Russ Parsons (food writer and former food editor, Los Angeles Times), Julie Priceman (food industry marketing and branding/owner, Six Degrees LA) and Frank O’Dea (food service consultant and owner/Frank O’Dea Hospitality); and members of Music Center leadership including Lisa Specht (chair, The Music Center Board of Directors), Jill Baldauf (board member and chair of Abernethy’s Culinary Advisors), Jay Wintrob (board member) and Howard Sherman (COO, The Music Center). This team tasted their way around Los Angeles in search of creative chef/entrepreneurs who would bring a unique culinary experience to Downtown Los Angeles.Abernethys Roasted Heirloom Baby Carrots Photo Courtesy Of Shirley Chung

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen Los Angeles become a major destination for food with chefs from many different cultural backgrounds interested in sharing the foods they love and love to cook,” said Jill Baldauf, chair of Abernethy’s Culinary Advisors and member, The Music Center Board of Directors. “With Abernethy’s, we’ll provide a platform for our emerging chefs to tell their personal story through food and give Angelenos and visitors a taste of the incredible cultural diversity of our region,” she added.Abernethy’s Chicken Jiaozi Photo Courtesy Of Shirley Chung

A native of Beijing, Chef Shirley Chung will kick things off by showcasing her Chinese heritage and personality with a modern, more elevated Chinese cuisine featuring dishes such as her Bowl of Hugs soup, handmade dumplings and Beijing Lamb Belly, to name just a few. Chung, who attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and has trained in classic French, Italian, Latin and Chinese cuisine, had the distinct honor of working with the greats including Thomas Keller at Bouchon, Guy Savoy and Jose Andres at China Poblano. She finished in the top three as a chef contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 11 and was named the runner up on Top Chef Season 14. Chung is the chef/owner of Ms Chi Café in Culver City and the author of a cookbook Chinese Heritage Cooking from My American Kitchen.Abernethy’s Chinese Heritage Cooking Kale Mixed Rice Albert Law Pork Belly Studio

“I love the idea of giving Angelenos the opportunity to experience Abernethy’s roster of rising chefs and the chance we’ll have to tell our stories through our individual cooking styles and dishes,” Chung offered. “As chefs, we share a bit of ourselves in every dish we prepare, so being able to invite diners to explore and taste something personal to each of us is inspiring. I am honored to be the first to bring the Abernethy’s concept to life.”  

As part of The Music Center’s commitment to the community, Abernethy’s will provide kitchen positions to graduates of Los Angeles County’s Workforce Development Aging and Community Services agency’s Veteran’s Culinary Arts Program, as well as to clients of Chrysalis, a 35-year-old nonprofit organization that provides a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals. Working with Chrysalis Staffing, Abernethy’s will hire Chrysalis clients on a temporary or temporary-to-permanent basis as these individuals transition toward rejoining the workforce.

Shirley Chung Cookbook
photography by Albert Law :

Designed by architects Rios Clementi Hale as part of its renovation of The Music Center Plaza, Abernethy’s features a neutral color palette of gray, green and blue with Calcutta marble, polished brass and white oak furnishings. The restaurant will serve 125 guests with indoor and outdoor seating. A restaurant in L.A. for L.A. and by L.A., Abernethy’s aligns with The Music Center’s vision to give local artists and artisans a platform to showcase their craft. In this case, the restaurant’s architect, contractors, designers, artisans, artists, manufacturers and suppliers are all Los Angeles-based, including Crew Apparel (chef coats and servers’ Henley shirts), Hedley and Bennett (staff aprons), Humble Ceramics (plates and bowls), Irving Place Studio (handmade vases), Nobuhitu Nishigawara (plates), Not Neutral (dessert cups, mugs and plates) and Spoken Glass (glass water bottles).

Abernethy’s is located at 220 N. Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90212. A destination restaurant, it is open Tuesday-Friday from 5:00 p.m.—11:00 p.m., Saturday from 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m.—9:00 p.m. The phone number is 213.972.8088. More information is available at Follow @AbernethysLA on Facebook and Instagram.Abernethy’s Interior


It’s the dishes that define our Los Angeles neighborhoods. Flavors inform us on culture and community, and chefs convey their story of our community with every meal. A restaurant in L.A. for L.A. and by L.A., Abernethy’s is a showcase of emerging chefs who have a unique narrative to share. Created by The Music Center, the restaurant is a forum for food inspired by the diverse people and places that fill the heart of Los Angeles. Located at 220 N. Hope Street in Downtown Los Angeles, Abernethy’s showcases a new chef and menu every quarter, including its inaugural chef, Shirley Chung of Ms Chi Café.  

The Music Center convenes artists, communities and ideas with the goal of deepening the cultural lives of every resident in Los Angeles County. The non-profit performing arts organization has two divisions: The Music Center Arts (TMC Arts) and The Music Center Operations (TMC Ops). TMC Arts, The Music Center’s programming engine, provides year-round programming inside The Music Center’s four theatres, on The Music Center Plaza, outside at Grand Park—a 12-acre adjacent green space—and in schools and other locations all over Los Angeles County. TMC Arts presents world-class dance with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, free and low-cost public concerts and events, as well as K–12 arts education programs. TMC Ops manages the theatres, the Plaza and Grand Park on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. The Music Center is also home to four renowned resident companies—Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil. For more information, visit Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MusicCenterLA.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email