Eater: Best of LA features a taste of 10 of the West Coast’s best chefs in one central place at Code! Each chef will serve a dish that defines them–from the dish that launched their career to an interpretation of what they love to eat at 3am. Confirmed chefs include Howlin’ Ray’s Johnny Zone, 71above’s Vartan Abgaryan and Top Chef alum Shirley Chung, whose new LA restaurant is set to open 2017.
Vartan Abgaryan, Executive Chef, 71Above
Los Angeles native Vartan Abgaryan has played a part in making his hometown become the culinary destination it is regarded as today. Educated at Le Cordon Bleu in Las Vegas, Abgaryan started his career at the famed Vegas outpost of Lutéce; at 25, he ran the kitchens at Red Pearl Kitchen in Los Angeles, A Restaurant in Newport Beach and Public Kitchen and Bar at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel before becoming executive chef at Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake, where he was known for his seasonal approach to ingredients and his presentation of dishes. Abgaryan’s most recent success is 71Above, a restaurant with a panoramic view on the 71st floor of the U.S. Bank Tower, which was until recently the tallest building in California.
Shirley Chung, Chef, Season 14
Born and raised in Beijing, Shirley Chung was exposed to international cuisine by her grandmother, who was the director of the Red Cross in China. Chung immigrated to America at age 17 for college, and worked in Silicon Valley for a few years before training in classic French and Italian cuisine at the California Culinary Academy San Francisco, where she opened restaurants for Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali. As executive chef at the noodles-and-tacos fusion China Poblano, she fell in love with Mexican cuisine and learned more about her own heritage. Recently named runner-up on season 14 of “Top Chef,” Chung is working on her next LA restaurant, a fast-casual counter-service seafood-driven restaurant with an oyster bar.
Michael Fiorelli, Executive Chef and Partner, Love & Salt
One of Michael Fiorelli’s best-known creations has its own hashtag: #duckeggpizza. Before becoming executive chef at the Italian-inspired Manhattan Beach restaurant Love & Salt, which has developed a following for his California-centric interpretations of Old World classics, Michael Fiorelli helmed the kitchen at mar’sel, the signature restaurant at Terranea Resort. Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Fiorelli was an avid reader who found himself drawn to cookbooks as a kid. His kitchen acumen was honed during stints at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, and the late Kerry Simon’s Simon LA, where chef de cuisine Fiorelli implemented a “100-mile menu,” procuring all ingredients from farmers and purveyors within 100 miles of the restaurant.
Ray Garcia, Chef/Owner, Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria
A native Angeleno, Ray Garcia originally set out to become a lawyer. After graduating from UCLA with degrees in political science and business economics, he pursued his dream and enrolled at the California School of Culinary Arts; his first kitchen job was at the estimable Peninsula Beverly Hills. Drawing inspiration from the LA’s rich culture, Southern California’s produce and his classic training, Garcia hopes to usher in a new understanding and appreciation for Mexican food with the quality sourcing and precision cooking at his flagship restaurant, Broken Spanish, and its little sister, BS Taqueria, both of which opened in downtown LA in 2015.
Jessica Largey, Chef/Partner, Simone
Jessica Largey can trace her culinary roots back to watching her mom make scrambled eggs — 5-year-old Jessica decided to recreate the dish on her own the following morning. Growing up surrounded by agriculture in Ventura County, Largey developed an appreciation for farming and sustainability, and after attending culinary school in Pasadena, she began her career in 2005 at the seafood-focused Providence. She quickly rose to chef de cuisine at the three-Michelin Manresa in Los Gatos, and was named Rising Star Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2015. She is now chef and partner at Simone, a timelessly designed restaurant in the emerging Arts District of downtown LA.
David LeFevre, Chef/Owner, Manhattan Beach Post, Fishing with Dynamite and The Arthur J
Globe-trotting Wisconsin native David LeFevre immersed himself in diverse food cultures and techniques during a two-year trek through Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia and the Caribbean, with stints in France at La Côte d’Or and Restaurant Jean Bardet. Educated at the Culinary Institute of America, LeFevre spent his early years in the world’s best kitchens, including 10 years at Charlie Trotter’s restaurants in Chicago and Las Vegas, and seven years at Water Grill in Los Angeles, where he mastered seafood. He is now the chef-owner behind the critically acclaimed Southern California restaurants Manhattan Beach Post (M.B. Post), Fishing with Dynamite and The Arthur J.
Andrew Vaughan, Chef de Cuisine, mar’sel
A Louisiana native, Andrew Vaughan has worked alongside Emeril Lagasse at Nola in New Orleans and Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel in New York City. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Vaughan was recently named chef de cuisine of Terranea Resort’s signature restaurant, mar’sel, where he helped develop the successful Chef’s Table Dinner Series, […]