Rising Star Chef Kris Tominaga of Hart and the Hunter - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

May 2014

Growing up, Kris Tominaga’s family didn't understand his interest in food and the restaurant industry. They weren’t supportive of their son pursuing a career in cuisine. (Tominaga has since changed their minds.) And so, Tominaga, a native Californian, enrolled in business school. He wanted to open a restaurant one day, but didn’t know yet if he wanted to be a chef. Clarity came in the form of an absentee co-worker. When a line cook didn’t show up for a shift at a bar Tominaga worked at, he jumped in and never jumped back out of the kitchen. Eventually he found a mentor at Boston’s L’Espalier in Rising Star Chef James Hackney, from whom he learned execution, to cook with his palette, and finesse.  

Back in Los Angeles, Tominaga met his future business and chef partner at Joe’s Restaurant in Venice. Brian Dunsmoor worked the day shift and Tominaga the night shift. They bonded on Joe’s First Monday’s when the staff would visit another restaurant. The two drank, ate, and talked until they decided they would open one of their own.

A couple years and jobs later, the duo opened a pop-up, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Kris brought the California fresh and Dunsmoor brought the Southern soul. The Wolf turned into The Hart and The Hunter at Palihotel Melrose. They bought camping burners, an electric oven, and a back-yard barbecue and were up and running a month after returning from a Southern food road-trip. Tominaga and Dunsmoor continue to collaborate on future projects.