If your taste buds are craving flavorful culinary cuisine, you should start with a great chef. The following is a list of some of Southern California’s top chefs who have dedicated their lives to creating tantalizing dishes, writing cookbooks, opening restaurants and winning awards and nominations in their field — and where you can taste their food.
6602 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Chef Matt Molina, the executive chef at Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, won the “Best Chef Pacific” by the James Beard Foundation in 2012. The James Beard Award is considered the Oscars of food and is voted on by more than 600 culinary professionals. Molina has also co-authored, “The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes From Los Angeles’s Favorite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria.” Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza is a pizzeria for grown-ups offering first class-service, valet parking, an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication.
Chef Leah Di Bernardo
27535 Jefferson Ave
Temecula, CA 92590
Chef Leah Delyte Di Bernardo recently won a “Food Network Star” award at the 2013 Stars of the Valley Charity event in the Inland Empire. This Temecula artisan chef and owner of E.A.T. Marketplace has been a star in her community long before this Chef of The Year award. As a single mom who wanted to give her child healthy food at home and in school, she introduced the Slow Food Movement to the Temecula Valley community. All 26 schools in Temecula now have school gardens. A life-long foodie, she fiercely advocates natural, preservative and hormone-free food grown by local producers. Her artisan bistro café, E.A.T. (Extraordinary Artisan Table) serves up divine farm-to-plate delectables while seated at a family-style table.
Chef Pete Lehmar
330 South Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802
Defending Champion of the Aquarium of the Pacific Chowderfest, Chef Pete Lehmar won again in 2013 for the best chowder in the west. Lehmar has been the Executive Chef at Gladstone’s Long Beach since 2004. Known for his expertise in seafood and being energetic and knowledgeable, Chef Pete is dedicated to using fresh, quality ingredients. Chef Pete won the competition at the first Chowderfest in 2011.
Chef Chris Cosentino
In 2012 Chef Chris Consentino debuted PIGG, a pork concept as well as his first cookbook entitled “Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal” from Olive Press Media. PIGG is Chris Cosentino’s tribute to all things pork from around the world. Known for transforming offal into haute cuisine, PIGG will explore different manifestations of pork from different cultures and regions. After opening several restaurants in San Francisco, PIGG is Cosentino’s first in Los Angeles. Cosentino has also been on the Food Network in “The Next Iron Chef America” and “Chefs vs. City.” Consentino has been a James Beard Award nominee multiple times, including this year. The winners will be announced at the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center in New York on May 6.
Chefs Jon Shook, Vinny Dotolo and Ludo Lefebvre
716 N. Highland
Los Angeles, CA 90038
435 North Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782 9225
This trio of award-winning chefs, Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are opening a new restaurant in Los Angeles this month. The partnership for Trois Mec was kept top secret until last month. Fans of these three chefs can enjoy their artistic edible talent under one roof at Trois Mec. The concept is described as a restaurant that welcomes diners into the kitchen. They want every table to feel like a chef’s table. The concept was influenced by the French “bistronomie,” a movement in France featuring haute cuisine at relatively affordable prices. It will be a set menu priced at $69. Shook and Dotolo have been nominated for the James Beard Award in 2013 for their other restaurant, Animal. Lefebvre is one of four celebrity judges on TV show “The Taste,” which premiered in 2013.
Michelle Mears-Gerst is a writer in South Orange County who can also be found @Sunnynsocal.