Described as a phenom, Chef de Cuisine and Pastry Chef of Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt Rebecca Merhej has had an impact at both Terranea’s mar’sel, where at age 24 she assumed the role of Chef de Cuisine when chef/mentor Michael Fiorelli was promoted to Executive Sous Chef, and also at the late chef Kerry Simon’s Simon LA.
Love & Salt opened in November 2014 an idea that we can all get behind: “To make great food, all you need is love and salt.” Rebecca Merhej and Michael Fiorelli, in partnership with father/daughter team Guy and Sylvie Gabrielle, designed an airy, elegant 100-seat restaurant that includes communal and bar seating and a kitchen serving up the soul of Italian cuisine with a distinctly SoCal personality.
After enrolling at the Kitchen Academy in LA (now Le Cordon Bleu) at age 19, Merhej earned a degree in culinary arts. Inspired by her family, she loved cooking. Merhej would help her grandmother make Lebanese cookies, soups, and stews. Her heritage is showcased in her home-cooked comfort, but she is immensely curious and constantly exploring new cuisine and flavors. In fact, Merhej puts forth a different menu nearly every day at this sunny Manhattan Beach restaurant
“I want to make desserts that make you feel good when you eat them. I want them to remind you of something your grandma or mom would make,” says Merhej. “Not Another Budino” is currently on the dessert menu: hazelnut, milk chocolate, sea salt and BROWN SUGAR (caps are necessary). Truly, love AND salt!