Sizzling Latino Chef: Ray Garcia

The Mexican-American is one of the hottest chefs in Los Angeles.



    Garcia, executive chef of the restaurant Fig in L.A.’s tony Santa Monica, launched his unabashedly local-ingredient-focused bistro when he was 30 years old.
    Mark Humphrey


    Lentil and Red Kuri Chili  

    1ea Large Red Kuri Squash (From Mc Grath Farms)
    1 cup Cooked Brown Lentils
    1ea. Onion, Diced
    3T Canola Oil
    2 cups Vegetable Stock
    ½ cup Baby Kale (From Fairview Gardens)
    1 ea. Black Twig apple, diced (From See Canyon)
    4 T. Diced Jalapeno
    ¼ cup Pomegranate seeds (From Friendly Farms Ranch)
    2 T Pepitas, pumpkin seeds
    1 T Chile Powder
    1Tsp Toasted Cumin

    1.       Take half the Squash, roast it in the oven at 350 with salt and pepper for about 30 min. Puree this half of the squash.
    2.       Dice the other half squash, and blanch it in boiling salted water for 4 min.  Cool in ice water.
    3.       Sweat the Onion and Jalapeno in the oil, add the cumin and chile powder. This takes about 5 min. make sure to keep the heat medium to stop the cumin from burning.
    4.       Add the puree and then the vegetable stock, simmer 10 min.
    5.       Add the lentils, Kuri squash and the chopped Kale, simmer for 20 min over low heat.
    6.       Season with Kosher salt and pepper.
    7.       Mix the apples and the pomegranate seeds with the toasted pumpkin seeds and top the chili with this mix.
    FIG Restaurant Santa Monica


    For the orange-blossom vinaigrette: •1 cup orange juice
    •¾ cup orange blossom honey
    •½ cup white balsamic vinegar
    •1 cup olive oil
      For the quinoa salad: •3 ½ ounces red quinoa
    •1 cup vegetable stock
    •1 sprig rosemary
    •Olive oil
    •2 ounces butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
    •½ a Granny Smith apple, sliced and chopped into ½-inch pieces
    •2 ounces Swiss chard, stems removed and cut into ½-inch strips
    •2 ounces haricots verts, roughly chopped and blanched quickly in salted water
    •1 ounce almond slivers, lightly toasted Directions For the orange-blossom vinaigrette: In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce the orange juice by 1/3. Allow to cool. When the orange juice has cooled, mix all the remaining ingredients for dressing together and set aside. For the quinoa salad: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa with the vegetable stock and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Let stand covered for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside and keep warm. While the quinoa is cooking, place in the squash in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat with a little olive oil. Sauté the apples, Swiss chard, and blanched beans until soft and tender, about 8-10 minutes. Lightly toast the almond slivers in a dry pan over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, shaking occasionally to avoid browning. In a serving bowl, combine the roasted squash and sautéed ingredients with the quinoa and dress with the vinaigrette. Garnish with the toasted almond flakes and serve. Makes 2 servings


    The trip from East Los Angeles, where Garcia grew up in a close-knit Mexican-American family, to the ocean-side setting of Fig, is less than a 20-mile drive, yet his journey represents an economic and cultural leap that’s far greater.
    Mark Humphrey


    Fig, his airy L.A. hotspot—set poolside, within the Fairmont Miramar Hotel—is drawing raves from demanding entertainment-industry clientele and food journalists alike.


    Red Beet Risotto Ingredients: Beet Root Puree 2 red beets ½ medium onion 16 oz vegetable stock Risotto 2 cups carnaroli rice 1 onion, finely diced 1 bay leaf 7 ounces red wine 5 cups vegetable stock 4 ounces beetroot puree 3 ounces unsalted butter 3 ounces parmesan cheese 2 ounces crème fraiche 2 tablespoons chopped dill 2 tablespoons chives Garnish 5 each: yellow & red baby carrots, white & green asparagus 10 pieces golden beetroot Directions: Boil red beets and onion until soft. Transfer to blender or food processor and puree. Set aside for later. In a new pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and sauté onion until fragrant. Add rice and bay leaf, and cook for 2 minutes Pour wine into pot and allow to reduce by ¾ Add stock, one ladle at a time, and stir frequently until risotto achieves desired texture. Add beet puree and stir to incorporate. Finish with butter, parmesan cheese, crème fraiche, herbs, salt and pepper. Blanch vegetables for garnish in salted water. Saute with butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve risotto in medium-sized bowl, topped with sautéed vegetables.
    FIG Restaurant Santa Monica


    "Wanting to have the best for my guests has really fueled that passion for local ingredients," Garcia said. "I have met many of my farmers and purveyors, and we have relationships now. I understand their hard work and passion and creativity, and I try to put it onto the plate.”
    Mark Humphrey


    Garcia is determined to use locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible.
    Mark Humphrey


    "It’s the craftsmanship, I’d say, that I love most of all; I like working with my hands," he said. 
    Mark Humphrey
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