MB Female Chefs Named Best Up & Coming Culinary Masters
Jul 15, 2015 08:12PM ● Published by DigMB Staff
Peggy Curry of GrowingGreat with Manhattan House Chef Diana Stavaridis at the organization's benefit in May. Chef D and Manhattan House have partnered with GrowingGreat and its healthy eating programs for school children.
Chef Rebecca Merhej of Love and Salt and Chef Diana Stavaridis of Manhattan House are part of the revolution that is producing exciting reinvention of classic and traditional foods that are blended across cultures.
Merhej is chef de cuisine and pastry chef at Love and Salt. At 19, she enrolled at the Kitchen Academy in Los Angeles (now Le Cordon Bleu). After meeting Chef de Cuisine Michael Fiorelli (now the Executive Chef at Love & Salt), she joined Fiorelli at m ar’sel, the award winning restaurant at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, in 2009. She left the resort kitchen to join Chef Fiorellia to open Love & Salt owners, Guy & Sylvie Gabrielle, in a space previously occupied by the Gabrielle's famous Cafe Pierre.
Stavaridis is a Massachusetts native who is at the helm of her first restaurant, Manhattan House. She moved to Los Angeles to attend the L.A. Trade Tech Culinary School and has worked with chefs Joe Miller and Neal Fraser. In 2006, she helped open the acclaimed BLD Restaurant on Beverly Boulevar, as sous chef. After four years at BLD, the ever-adventurous and culinary dynamo took time off to travel to the French countryside to learn cheese making and oil pressing. Once back in the States, Stavaridis undertook, in earnest, mastering sustainability and nose to tail cooking, mushroom foraging, soft and hard cheese preparations, and the smoking of game. Stavaridis also is deeply involved with the community garden program, GrowingGreat, where she helps local children learn the benefits of eating what you grow.Chef D, as she's known, received the Rising Star Chef of Los Angeles award from StarChefs, and has appeared on several television shows such as Food Networks' “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, and as a guest judge on “The Next Food Network Star.”