Chef Proprietor & Co-Owner
Lunetta & Lunetta All Day
Santa Monica, CA
Born in Southern California, Chef Raphael grew up in a bicultural and bilingual home where cooking played an integral role in family life. Every summer, his family spent time at his aunt’s 18th century farmhouse in the South of France.
In 1986, Chef Raphael followed his passion for food and moved to Europe to broaden his knowledge. He worked in such well-known Parisian culinary powerhouses as Café Pacifico, La Perla, and La Posté. After two years working in France, Chef Raphael returned home to Los Angeles and cooked his way through some of the city’s top kitchens, including the esteemed Patina, Capri in Venice, and Jackson’s Beverly Hills. In 1997, he opened JiRaffe in downtown Santa Monica, which became a pillar of the restaurant community for almost 20 years.
It was during this time that he gained national media attention, earning himself the 1997 Best New Chef Award for Food and Wine Magazine. He was invited to participate in the Aspen Food and Wine Classic and a James Beard Foundation Dinner, and was Celebrity Guest Chef for Crystal Cruise’s voyages in the Black Sea (1997), Australia Pacific Crossing (2000) and Alaska (2011). Chef Raphael has made dozens of appearances on Food Network shows, was a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, and was featured on Beat Bobby Flay in 2014.
Currently, Raphael is Owner/Partner and Chef Proprietor at Lunetta and Lunetta All Day in Santa Monica. In these side-by-side restaurants, he continues to craft what he is best known for: bringing people together while creating warm, comfortable settings where clean flavors and local ingredients take center stage.