For Ray Garcia, growing up nearby family in Los Angeles meant a lot of Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house. It was during those long Sunday evenings, full of laughter and family, that Garcia first really began to feel the profound conviviality of food. But with his eyes trained on a law degree, Garcia temporarily parted ways with the culinary world, devoting four years of study to the very un-foodie disciplines of political science and business economics at the University of California Los Angeles. Possibly because he maintained some ties to the food world, working as a server at various restaurants over the course of his studies, Garcia finally realized his true calling wasn’t in a courtroom, but a kitchen.
“I didn’t choose food,” he explains. “It chose me.” Putting away his Stenopads and legal binders, Garcia enrolled at the California School of Culinary Arts. Over the course of his studies, Garcia was able to work under some local—and global—culinary giants, including Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Douglas Keane of Cyrus. With the guidance of such heavy-hitters, Garcia learned the value of restrained technique, as well as a deep respect for the integrity of his ingredients.
Now at the helm of Fig