Kristi Ritchey's culinary quest began back in her hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, when she started working at a quaint Italian restaurant in the city. The owner recognized Kristi’s potential immediately and encouraged her to peruse a career in food. Straight after graduating with a degree in culinary arts from Pennsylvania College of Technology, she moved to California’s Napa Valley, where she quickly found a position at the prestigious Pinot Blanc restaurant, operated by the Patina Group.
Studying under Chef Greg Stillman, Kristi swiftly elevated herself within the restaurant to the position of Sous Chef within her first year. Soon after, the Patina Group relocated Kristi to Southern California to help open Eat at The Desert, inside the Hotel Zoso in Palm Springs, and then Eat on Sunset in Los Angeles.
Taking notice of her skills, restaurateurs Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans, sought her out and asked her to join in planning and opening of Murano Restaurant and Lounge in Los Angeles. Contributing to the initial kitchen layout, menu design and more, she was able to help create the restaurant’s concept and mold what it is today. While at Murano, and at the age of 26, LA Direct Magazine named Kristi one of Los Angeles’ top chefs.
After Murano, friend and celebrity chef Jonathan Rollo asked Kristi to help in the opening of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Beverly Hills. Kristi accepted the position of Corporate Chef and was again part of developing the menu and overall concept for a new restaurant. Throughout her time with Greenleaf, Kristi was a frequent media star, with appearances on The Food Network’s “Extreme Chef,” NBC’s weight-loss series “The Biggest Loser,” as well as several appearances on “Good Day LA.” During this time she was also named to OC Metro magazine’s 40 Under 40 list.
Kristi’s passion for cooking is more than just her career – eating healthy has become her lifestyle. She brings her creative fusion of Italian and French cooking styles with a fresh twist to the West Shore’s menu. Executive Chef Kristi explains, “I want to focus on fresh, local, seasonal products that we combine to exceed our guests’ expectations for flavor and presentation. Whether a simple salad, soup or a composed entrée, it has to be the best.”