How Chef Courtney McBroom and Boyfriend Aziz Ansari Throw an L.A. Pool Party
Courtney McBroom is a hyper-talented baker and chef. Her boyfriend, Aziz Ansari, is an actor and comedian with a serious food obsession. Together they throw some of L.A.’s best pool parties, with three-cheese queso, double-decker Dr Pepper chicken tacos, and lots and lots of cocktails and natural wines.
In the cozy postmodern house that Courtney McBroom and Aziz Ansari shar in the hills of Los Feliz, California, pool parties revolve around an oven. Specifically, a big, bright-orange outdoor pizza oven, a gift from Mario Batali. “Mario told Aziz, ‘I’ll gift you one,’” says McBroom. “We were expecting a small box. Instead, we discovered this gigantic oven—like what professionals use.” The couple mastered it only after reading instructions for weeks and getting some tips. “Our friend Mario Carbone [a chef-owner of Carbone in Manhattan] saw us failing and failing to start a fire and said, ‘WTF?’ He taught us the best hack—it’s a way of stacking the logs against the oven wall with newspaper. It went from an hour-long procedure to 10 minutes. A game changer.”
Ansari and McBroom met in New York City, at a party catered by Momofuku Milk Bar, where she worked as a baker. When she moved to L.A., she and another Milk Bar alum, Leslie Discher, launched a new catering company, Large Marge. The friends have been selling out Large Marge pop-ups across the city, at restaurants and wine stores; they have ambitious plans to bring people back to entertaining at home. McBroom and Discher are happy to cater the party, but what they like best is organizing the guests to do the cooking themselves. Unsurprisingly, the two sweets pros make outrageous desserts—their house speciality is pralinella, a Nutella-style praline spread that they use to make icebox cakes. But they’re also superb savory cooks, using the pizza oven to roast crispy, caramelized Dr Pepper chicken before shredding the meat to stuff double-decker tacos.
The tacos often make a cameo at the excellent parties McBroom and Ansari throw when he’s not on the road promoting his new book, Modern Romance, headlining the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival with fellow comedian Amy Schumer or working on an upcoming Netflix feature in New York City. They invite friends like Adam Scott, Ansari’s costar on Parks and Recreation. (Coincidentally, on TV, Ansari and Scott’s characters collaborated on a restaurant, Tom’s Bistro.) Scott talks to the couple about McBroom’s extraordinary queso, the key to a great L.A. party and the natural wines that McBroom and Ansari both love.
Read Adam Scott's interview with Ansari and McBroom here.