Vincent Lesage began his life in one of the world's most famous food-focused cities: Paris. As a young child he was enveloped with the best in flavours and techniques that have helped France rise to the top of the gastronomy charts.
For Vincent, there was only one direction his life could take him: into the kitchen. He graduated from the Institut Paul Bocuse in Ecully, France, and trained at The Ritz Paris and two Michelin three-star restaurants: L’Astrance and Bras.
He's also served as Executive Chef of Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, opening two popular waterfront restaurants, Waterline and A&O Kitchen + Bar.
Now aged 30, Vincent draws a crowd in Santa Barbara as Executive Chef of Bacara Resort & Spa’s renowned culinary program, managing three restaurants and bringing a flair to dish presentation born from many hours spent studying art in the Louvre.
Vincent recently sat down to chat about Santa Barbara, giving his local's guide to this iconic California city.
Where should I stay?
Bacara of course! We truly have the best views and rooms in my opinion. We just finished a complete renovation of all our guest rooms and we are Santa Barbara's only oceanfront resort.
Where's Santa Barbara's best entertainment?
When I have time away from the kitchen, I enjoy going to Haskell's Beach. It is a very secluded and gorgeous beach – I like that it is off the beaten path.
There is a lot of wildlife and nature; very often you can see dolphins and whales breaching. I like that this beach is really only known amongst the locals, so it is not very crowded.
Where's your favourite place to eat?
Other than Angel Oak, for a casual meal, I enjoy The Natural Café. They feature a lot of local ingredients – very healthy and very simple.
I like Lure for some simple and fresh fish preparation, and Eureka for the bone marrow burger.
How about after-dinner drinks?
El Encanto has beautiful panoramic views of Santa Barbara and has an excellent wine list and hand-crafted cocktails. It is the perfect location for a date night.
Where would you recommend to shop?
I don't really shop much, but I do enjoy strolling down State Street. It is always an adventure and I always find something new. There are a lot of interesting shops and cafes.
I particularly enjoy Tuesday afternoons, as there is the farmers market, which is stunning. There are a lot of local farms and purveyors present and it is great to see the community come together.