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Ray Garcia Decamps From Santa Monica's FIG as Yousef Ghalaini Steps In As Chef

Longtime toque Garcia leaves amicably to pursue his own projects while Ghalaini jumps in from Pebble Beach's The Bench at The Lodge.

Yousef Ghalaini
Yousef Ghalaini
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Ray Garcia's been quite a steady figure at the uber-seasonal FIG inside the Fairmont Santa Monica but effective today, Yousef Ghalaini steps into the executive chef role. Garcia's long touted Santa Monica's bounty of produce (available straight from the farmer's market down the street), but he's mostly had success getting acclaim for his meaty productions at Cochon 555 (see: pork butt tamales).

Ghalaini comes from The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, where he was also using plenty of local produce and ingredients, though with a proclivity toward Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. No word on what Garcia will do next but word on the street is that he's working on a more casual concept.