They say it’s not the age but the mileage, and for 2006 Los Angles Rising Star Chef David LeFevre—who’s logged countless miles on culinary adventures in some of the world’s most exotic destinations—it is certainly that.
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, LeFevre grew up helping his mother in the kitchen. “I loved to eat and realized that if I knew how to cook, I could eat anytime I wanted,” he says. The Midwestern teen originally chose to pursue a career in industrial engineering, but he kept one hand on the cooking till during college, working at various restaurants until he finally he decided to abandon engineering altogether. After schooling at the Culinary Institute of America and then interning with Chef Charlie Trotter at his eponymous restaurant in Chicago, LeFevre took a job as tournant at Trotter’s Las Vegas venue after graduating in 1995.
LeFevre didn’t spend much time in Vegas (Trotter’s restaurant closed soon after opening). After the Vegas restaurant closed, LeFevre traveled to France to refine his classical skills in some of the world’s most exalted kitchens: the late Bernard Loiseau’s restaurant, La Côte d’Or, Restaurant Jean Bardet, and Roger Vergé’s Le Moulin de Mougins. LeFevre later spent two years globe-trotting, immersing himself in the culinary riches of Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, the Caribbean, and Europe.
In 2004, LeFevre was recruited for the position of executive chef at the Los Angeles seafood restaurant Water Grill, where he helped earn a Michelin star. In 2010 he opened M. B. Post, his first solo venture, offering a more eclectic, rustic menu of artisanal dishes. LeFevre, who has officially caught the Californian cuisine bug, says the menu is entirely product-driven, hand-crafted, soulful food and that he is not as focused now on innovation. "I'm not trying to show the world how great a chef I am, as I was at my last job," he says, though he is still (clearly) impressing with his eclectic menu. "I'm making it a point to ensure myself and my sous chefs are using the local farmers markets. It's amazing what grows out here!"