Pastry Chef Gergis, with her Executive Chef husband Ori Menashe, opened a multi-regional Italian restaurant, Bestia (Italian for “Beast”), in 2010 in a downtown LA neighborhood that now boasts some of the coolest restaurants.
Bestia is critically acclaimed and loved by diners and is one of the most exciting openings in Los Angeles in recent year. Super cool fun fact is that Alice Waters sent the owners a handwritten note about her amazing experience.
Genevieve is a self-taught pastry chef who was given the push to pursue pastry by none-other than Nancy Silverton of Osteria Mozza. Genevieve told Zagat after Bestia topped the list of Best Newcomer in the Zagat 2014 Los Angeles Restaurant Survey about Nancy Silverton’s influence: “I made all the desserts for Amy Pressman’s [founder of Pasadena's Old Town Bakery] funeral, out of respect for her. Ori was doing the food. And I made them, and she [Nancy] tried my stuff, and flipped out, and told me that I should be doing pastries. She really believes in me. She sent me to Chez Panisse for three weeks. It was right before the restaurant opened, and I didn’t even know what a professional kitchen looked like.” It was this divine intervention that had Gergis move from front of house at Bestia to officially taking on the role of pastry chef.
She is patient and thoughtful with her craft, something that is evident in all of the food coming out of the kitchen at Bestia. Her pistachio ice cream takes three days to make. Somehow this extra time and attention makes the food just that much more simple, with a small, concentrated list of ingredients that are nurtured through process to provide the most amount of flavor.
In 2014, Menashe was named the People’s Best New Chef, California for Food & Wine and in 2015, he was added to the list of Food & Wine’s ten Best New Chefs. When not in the kitchen, Menashe and Gergis can be found spending time with their daughter Saffron.