Chef Diana Stavaridis has been working in restaurants most of her life. A Massachusetts native, she was cleaning lobsters at age 6 in her grandparent’s kitchen and harvesting tomatoes in the backyard. Diana graduated with a BA in Advertising and Marketing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After a brief stint working in finance in Boston, she realized that her true passion was in the culinary arts.
Diana moved to Los Angeles to attend the L.A. Trade Tech Culinary School. While attending school, she worked with chef Joe Miller and worked the line with Neal Fraser at Grace Restaurant. In 2006, Fraser opened BLD Restaurant and Diana was the Sous Chef. By 2008, she was running the kitchen as Chef de Cuisine. There she created the “Vegan Benedict” with house smoked tofu bacon, and the “Vegan Chickpea Burger” with Jalapeno Cashew Cheese. After four years at BLD, Diana was ready for a new challenge and traveled to France to explore another region and culture.
While in Paris, Diana staged under Michelin Star Chef Giles Epie at Citrus Etoile and renowned Chef Gregory Marchand of Frenchie’s. She traveled around the French countryside, visiting farms, milking cows and learning to prepare French cheeses and pressed walnuts oils. Her final stage was baguettes and pastries at an artisanal Boulangerie.
Back in the states, Diana settled in San Francisco and began consulting local farms on sustainability and cooked at one of her favorite seasonally market-driven restaurants Café Gibraltar with Chef Jose Ugalde.
Diana Stravaridis is an accomplished, celebrated chef who knows her way around nose to tail cooking, mushroom foraging, cheese preparations and the smoking of game. She’s also a super smart business woman. Case in point, when she returned to LA, she consulted for Back on the Beach Café in Santa Monica. In addition to redesigning the menu, she implemented systems and procedures to provide extensive vendor savings, reduced ticket times and increased check averages. Diana was highly focused on reducing labor costs and providing the owners with documented training and prep procedures and a Back on the Beach House recipe book.
Known as “Chef D,” Diana was tapped as the Executive Chef for Manhattan House, which opened as a farm-to-table gastropub in Manhattan Beach in May 2015. With a community garden, Chef D creates beautiful dishes with hyper local seasonal produce and a focus on food sustainability. The partners in the project all hail from Manhattan (aka New York City), hence the name, which works perfectly in the gorgeous ocean-side town of Manhattan Beach.
Diana is also deeply involved with the community garden program, Growing Great, where she spends her free time helping local children learn the benefits of eating what you grow. She has appeared on several television shows such as Food Networks “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and as a guest judge on “The Next Food Network Star.”