Michael Cimarusti

Chef

Chef Michael Cimarusti has helped define the top echelon of seafood in Los Angeles—and the country. At his restaurant, Providence, his impeccably crafted, sustainably sourced dishes have earned national recognition and accolades. After several nominations, including one for Best New Restaurant for Providence in 2006, Michael won for Best Chef West. Providence racked up two Michelin stars, has been named Top 50 Restaurants in the US by Gourmet Magazine, Best Seafood Restaurant by LA Magazine and Number One in Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants in LA Times. He’s appeared alongside Gordon Ramsey on MasterChef and has worked with some of the fine dining world’s most acclaimed names.

It’s fitting that Michael’s path to top seafood chef started on a boat. He was inspired early on fishing with his grandfather on crisp New England mornings and learning about his Italian heritage through his grandmother and great-grandmother’s recipes. Throughout his culinary rise, this reverence for tradition and ingredients codified and grew into the philosophical backbone of Providence. 

Why We Love Michael Cimarusti

You won’t find another chef who treats his ingredients with such uncompromising respect. First and foremost, Michael is guided by sustainability and quality—and he couldn’t be prouder to showcase it on a nightly basis.

“The goal wasn't to get famous. It was to be voracious about learning and to push to work with the very best.”

“It is my duty to staunchly support conservation and best practices.”

6 Questions with Michael Cimarusti

  1. What’s a dish you remember eating in Narraganset growing up?

    Yeah, definitely fried clams. Even when I was a little kid, I remember people shy away from clams with bellies. But I loved them, and that was the one thing that whenever we went up there, I always wanted. That, and clam cakes.

  2. LA fine dining seems so removed from casual New England seafood. What drew you to it?

    It’s the seafood that drew me to it. What we do at Connie & Ted’s, and the food I grew up with such a reverence for, is very casual. But, my training led me to work in places not quite as casual. Through that, I developed a love of fine dining and hospitality and that’s sort of how Providence came to be.

  3. What do you think has brought fine dining back to popularity?

    It never really was dead, in my opinion. There was definitely a time in Los Angeles where it waned. Providence and my friend, Josiah, at Melisse were a couple of the only fine dining restaurants left. But now, there are all types of people with aspirations of doing what we’re been doing for the last 15 years and Josiah’s been doing for 20. You have traditional stuff and much more modern experiences now, so it’s definitely ramped up again around Los Angeles.

  4. Why are sustainability and conservation so important to fine dining, particularly when it comes to seafood?

    I think it’s important across all levels and platforms of dining. Even at home, as consumers, having thoughts about sustainability, especially when it comes to food, is important. Dan Barber said that thoughts about sustainability sort of starts at white-tablecloth restaurants and then trickles down to the restaurant stratosphere and then to the home consumer. So, I think it’s important that in my position as a chef that I try to lead by example, and also with deeds and actions.

  5. Does your love of fishing affect your view on sustainable practices?

    It informs everything. More than anything, I have a reverence for wild seafood. I came to that through being a fisherman myself. But I have such an affinity for it and appreciation because it’s really the last wild food that we all eat. It still has a common place on our table. There is no other wild food we eat on a regular basis, so it’s obviously very important we do everything we can to protect it, so it’ll be around for my kids, your kids and their kids.

  6. You’ve lived in LA for a while now. So, Pacific or Atlantic?

    Well, if I had my druthers, I’d probably say the Atlantic. I love the Pacific and everything it has to offer. But cooking on the east coast, there’s really nothing else like it. But, then again, in California, we have some of the best produce in the world. Oh, man, that’s a tough question. You know, I guess—yeah, I guess I have to just stick with the Pacific!

Japan with Michael Cimarusti

One Departure Only | June 20 - 26, 2021

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