The vividness of cultures in Los Angeles never fails to impress me. Whether it is the tourist spots, arts and museums, or the culinary scene, it mixes the customs of different parts. When I visited the city, I was destined to enjoy meals from some of the best chefs and their restaurants. So, I did intensive research on it. And the high number of popular chefs, including celebrities and award winners, confused me about who to go for. I finally managed to sort out a list of five individuals.
Here, I am sharing my list with you to rid you of the trouble of finding the top chefs in Los Angeles.
Top Chefs in Los Angeles
In a city overflowing with foodie culture and celebrity chefs, it can be hard to decide which restaurant is worth your hard-earned money. This list of the top chefs in Los Angeles will help you make that decision. From Michelin-starred restaurants to inventive street food, these chefs are at the top of their game. Whether you’re looking for a night of fine dining or a casual meal, these chefs have you covered.
Wolfgang Puck- Culinary Star
I bet you are curious and eager to visit an eatery that even the celebrities in the city favor. Wolfgang Puck and his famous restaurant, Spago, can let you do that. His initial cooking training was under his mother and later Raymond Thuilier at L’Oustau de Baumaniere.
Born in Austria, Puck moved to Los Angeles in 1973. His first and most famous restaurant is Spago, which he opened in 1982. The restaurant has been entitled as One of the Top 40 Restaurants in the US since 2004.
Wolfgang Puck is a culinary celebrity and a wealthy individual with many eateries and hotels. Spago, located in Hollywood, is one to be noted. It has many other branches in Istanbul, Santa Monica, Singapore, Beverly Hills, etc. But there is also Postrio in Las Vegas, Granita, Chinois on Main, Cut, and many more.
Awards and Achievements-
- One of Puck’s earliest awards was the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievers in 1985.
- Spago Hollywood won the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award from the James Beard Foundation in 1994.
- Spago Beverly Hills also won an ‘Outstanding Service Award’ from James Beard Foundation in 2005.
- Wolfgang Puck won a Michelin Star on his Cut, located in Beverly Hills, in 2007.
Niki Nakayama- Japanese Taste in Los Angeles
If I were to put the chefs in terms of their Michelin Stars, Niki Nakayama would go higher on this list with two stars. She owns the restaurant, n/Naka, which features the popular Kaiseki Cuisine. Nakayama was born in Koreatown, Los Angeles, in 1975 and took her cooking courses in Pasadena.
She adapted to the Kaiseki cuisine during a three-year tour in Japan and working at Shirakawa-Ya Ryokan. Before n/Naka, she also ran Azami Sushi Café containing only female staff. Words are that she had to endure so much sexism and unfairness before she could bring her name to the top.
Restaurant of Note-
Niki owns n/Naka and runs it with the help of Carole Lida, another big name and a sous chef. The restaurant won two stars in the Michelin Guide in 2019. It serves Kaiseki Cuisine, a style that mixes different seasonal ingredients and displays them through decoration.
Aside from the two Michelin stars, Nakayama’s restaurant was named One of the Best dining ‘Spots of 2019’ among 30 others by Food & Wine.
The book Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites by Debbi Michiko Florence et al. portrays her life as a story.
Curtis Stone- Australian Celebrity Chef
Curtis Stone is one popular name in Los Angeles that is on par with Gordon Ramsay or Mario Batali. His work life in a restaurant started in his country, Australia. Later, he was trained under the cooking legend Marco Pierre White at Café Royal and Mirabelle in London.
Stone served as the head chef at Quo Vadis, a restaurant owned by Marco White. Besides his career as a chef and restauranter, Curtis Stone is also a Television star and author of many cookbooks. You may have heard of his shows, such as Surfing the Menu or Saturday Kitchen.
Curtis Stone has two restaurants in Los Angeles. One is named Maude, so called after his paternal grandmother, who taught him to cook for the first time. Its foods are famous for their taste and won one Michelin star rating in 2019.
The other restaurant is Gwen, a restaurant and a butcher shop. This one is named after his maternal grandmother and is located in Hollywood.
Awards and Honors-
- Curtis Stone got one star in the Michelin Guide for California on his first restaurant, Maude.
- He hosted and co-hosted many popular TV shows and earned the respect of other celebrity chefs.
The Stone Cookbook I Recommend-
Ludo Lefebvre- French Culinary Expert
Are you craving French delicacies but want them to be platted by some big shot? I recommend visiting Trois Mec or Petit Trois and being fortunate enough to savor a dish from Ludo Lefebvre. According to the man himself, he is trying to be the best in his game as a commitment and respect to all his teachers and instructors.
Restaurants of Lefebvre-
As mentioned, Lefebvre has two eateries in Los Angeles. One is a bistro in Hollywood, Petit Trois, and the other is Trois Mec, in Highland Avenue. However, many critics say the former has downgraded a bit from its former glory.
Both places serve top-tier French menus.
- Lefebvre got the Mobil Travel Guide Five Star Award for his restaurant, L’Orangerie in 1999 and 2000, and Bastide in 2006.
- He is also named the pioneer of pop-up restaurants.
- Trois Mec was entitled ‘LA’s Best Restaurant’ by LA Weekly two times.
- His Bar a la carte was a finalist in the Best New Restaurants in James Beard Award in 2015.
Cookbook You Should Check-
Jeremy Fox- Expert of Vegetation-Centered Dishes
Jeremy Fox is the executive chef at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen. He is famous for his vegetable dishes rich in nutrition and breaks the saying that vegan dishes are all blends. Born in Atlanta, Jeremy moved to many places in his career, including Anson Restaurant in SC, Mumbo Jumbo in Atlanta, and Lauded Manresa in Los Gatos.
He was trained under David Kinch and became an expert food philosopher. He worked from 2007 to 2010 in Ubuntu. There was a biodynamic garden at the place, helping him dish up his vegetarian cuisines.
Jeremy Fox’s current workplace is the Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen, where he is the executive chef. He is partnered with the co-owners Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb. The restaurant mainly serves vegetable-focused dishes.
Awards and Achievements-
Jeremy Fox has many achievements to show off. Some are as below-
- The Food & Wine magazine dubbed him ‘Best New Chef of 2008’.
- Fox was awarded the ‘Best Chef: West’ By James Beard Foundation three times.
- His eatery got into Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants by Los Angeles Times between 2013-2016.
Japanese, Australian, French, Indian, whatever cuisine style you are in the mood for, Los Angeles has it all. Hollywood alone has most of it. Since testing the local cates is part and parcel of a tour, you must ensure to visit the restaurants and bars of the five best chefs in LA.