Chef Ray Garcia at Fig Restaurant showcases a halibut entree with beet salad. Photo by Westside People
After winning the critically acclaimed Cochon555 in Aspen recently, Fig Restaurant Chef Ray Garcia can now officially be called the King of Pork.
The creator of Fig Restaurant at the Santa Monica Fairmont Miramar won the five-city, five-pork dish contest on June 22. Earlier this year Garcia defeated four other Los Angeles-area chefs.
We caught up to the chef just before the big event and asked him about his proudest pork dish: bacon-wrapped bacon.
“It’s a whole slab of bacon braised and then wrapped in a thin strip of bacon and then crisped up again,” he said. “It comes with avocado and tomato and so this time of year it really kind of sings.”
A Los Angeles native, Garcia was pursuing a law degree at UCLA when he found his passion for cooking. He attended the former California School of Culinary Arts but said most of his experience came from working in the kitchen.
In 2009, Garcia had the honor to completely revamp what had become an outdated diner. What emerged is a dining area that feels rustic yet classy with hardwood and machine metal railings.
Named after the hotel’s iconic 125-year-old Moreton Bay Fig Tree, the restaurant also serves a casual patio area near the pool. Between 5-7 pm every day of the week except Sunday and Monday all menu items are half price.
“I’m blessed to work in a place that’s so close to the farmers and its purveyors,” Garcia said.
During our visit, Garcia prepared from the lunch menu two entrees: the fish tacos with mango salsa and the halibut with soy beans and pickled brussel sprouts. Both were preceded with a colorful beet salad and tasty quinoa starter.