Dubbed 'the kid in the kitchen,' by LA Weekly, Govind Armstrong may not be a kid anymore, but he is known for having gotten a jumpstart in the kitchen at a young age. He trained at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in West Hollywood when he was just 13. Armstrong—who grew up in Costa Rica and LA—opened Table 8 and 8 Oz. Burger Bar (both of which are now closed). He is the mastermind behind Baldwin Hills' Post & Beam and designed the menu at Republic of Laughter. Armstrong is known for his California cuisine, and of course for having appeared on Bravo's Top Chef.
Chef Ricardo Zarate is a perfect example of the vital ingredients that go into LA's cultural melting pot. Hailing from Lima, Peru, he trained at celebrated eateries in London for over a decade. Zarate brings his own special brand of Peruvian cuisine to diners at his two restaurants Mo-Chica and Picca Peruvian cantina. The former serves up comfort food while the latter offers a hybrid selection of Peruvian eats with Japanese touches. He's known for being a big fan of alpaca meat. Zarate and partner Stefan Bombet are set to open a new restaurant, Paiché, in Marina Del Rey.
Native Angeleno Suzanne Goin's culinary roots are deep (and geographically diverse). She's had stints at legendary LA eateries Ma Maison and L'Orangerie, and Al Forno (in Providence), Chez Panisse (in Berkeley) and Arperge (in Paris). Today, her restaurant roster consists of Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern, The Larder at Tavern and The Larder at Maple Drive. Lucques is perhaps most indicative of Goin's influences; its dishes meld California and Mediterranean/European cuisines. The renowned LA chef has also been nominated for the James Beard Foundation's 'Outstanding Chef' honor five times.
His name is unforgettable—in more ways than one. Michael Voltaggio is buzzing on the culinary scene these days, and he's also been on Top Chef (season six). He first worked/trained under the tutelage of Chef Arnaud Berthelier at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples. And, he's come a long way since those high-brow beginnings. He recently opened ink.sack, a sandwich shop that mixes classic flavors with premium ingredients. It is the casual sister of his first restaurant ink, whose menu Voltaggio has described as "modern Los Angeles cuisine."
Much like his peer Govind Armstrong, Micah Wexler got his start in restaurants at a young age. He was 15 when he worked under the tutelage of Italian Chef Gino Angelini at Vicenti in Brentwood. He's also worked in Italy, Spain and New York (at the highly lauded Robuchon), and here in LA at Craft. In 2011, he opened Mezze which boasts California cuisine with Eastern Mediterranean touches. Some of the flavors that are explored and hinted at in his dishes are of Lebanese, Syrian, Israeli, Turkish, and Moroccan origins.