By Armella Stepan
Mix iconic Shutters on the Beach and its culinary team with a General Manager who was raised by three generations of restaurateurs. The result? An enticing oceanside destination led by Christophe Baraton.
Christophe’s interest in gastronomy was ignited early on. Born in the United States to French parents, his mother was a Washington diplomat. His father, uncle, grandfather and even his in-laws, all French restaurateurs.
Christophe honed his hospitality prowess in France, Canada, and Morocco, before returning to the US to continue to build upon the strong foundation he acquired at Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon.
“It’s been an exciting time to witness the growth of the Los Angeles food scene these past few years,” Christophe reflects.
“Currently, there are four Michelin starred restaurants on the Westside, and several more that, in my opinion, deserve that honor. Santa Monica and its adjacent cities have become an immensely popular fine dining destination.”
You never know what you will see. One afternoon we arrived to find they were carving up a 200 pound tuna right at the bar!
Christophe’s list of go-to eateries has expanded considerably since he and his wife, Jessica, became parents. When the Baraton’s aren’t dining at the family’s favorite Coast Café and Bar, they frequent Playa Provisions, Superba, and Gjusta Bakery.
“Another hidden gem, ideal for a seaside date or family outing, is Dudley Market on Venice Beach, we bike there,” Christophe explains. “You never know what you will see. One afternoon we arrived to find they were carving up a 200 pound tuna right at the bar!”
Christophe is looking forward to an exciting year as he and his team plan enhancements to Shutters’ al fresco dining experiences. Outdoor seating will be conducive for sharing small plates and a bottle of wine with friends.
Like the menus he and his chefs create for 1 Pico Restaurant and Coast Café and Bar, Christophe believes that the finest ingredients, prepared well, and served unobtrusively, is key. Pivoting selections based on seasonality, he makes sure he tastes every dish regularly to ensure quality, consistency and guests who return again and again.