David LeFevre Chef/Owner
Chef David LeFevre, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, developed his passion for cooking as a child by helping his Mother in the kitchen. He says “I loved the food my mother made and realized that if I knew how to cook, I wouldn’t have to wait for someone else to cook for me.” Yet as a teen he set off on the Industrial Engineering track at the University of Wisconsin, temporarily forgoing his culinary pursuits. Of course it wasn’t long before LeFevre left the Engineering world and, after working in various restaurants, enrolled at the renowned Culinary Institute of America. It was during this time that he interned at Chef Charlie Trotter’s celebrated restaurant in Chicago and made such an impression that he landed a job as tournant at Trotter’s Las Vegas, where he worked until it closed in 1995.
In parting with Trotter’s, LeFevre seized the opportunity to travel to France and hone his classical skills in some of the world’s most distinguished kitchens. This experience enhanced his resume with a list of apprenticeships that include the late Bernard Loiseau’s restaurant, La Côte d’Or, Restaurant Jean Bardet and Roger Vergé’s Le Moulin de Mougins. Upon returning to the United States, LeFevre moved to Chicago to once again work with his mentor Charlie Trotter where he quickly advanced to become sous chef.
In addition to pursuing his responsibilities in one of America’s top kitchens, LeFevre also participated in over fifty national and international culinary events during this time. Additionally, he cooked alongside some of the world’s best chefs, heads of state, and at the James Beard House, and developed recipes that ultimately appeared in several of Trotter’s award-winning coffee table cookbooks. As a representative of Trotter’s, LeFevre contributed to the production of the PBS television series, Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter and had the extraordinary opportunity to work with visiting chefs like culinary masters Alain Ducasse, Michel Trama and Gordon Ramsey.
In 2002, LeFevre decided to explore new and exotic cuisines, which launched him on a two year globetrotting experience all over Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, the Caribbean, and Europe. He consulted, made guest appearances and conducted promotional events in destinations as diverse as Singapore, Bangkok, Stockholm and Tokyo by teaming up with leading hoteliers and restaurateurs.
In 2004, LeFevre was recruited as Executive Chef of the Water Grill, downtown Los Angeles’ seminal seafood restaurant. Under LeFevre’s six year culinary leadership Water Grill earned a coveted Michelin star and further solidified its reputation as one of Los Angeles’ must-go-to destination restaurants.
Now at Manhattan Beach Post (M.B. Post), LeFevre has returned to his roots with a highly personal and soulful restaurant offering a more rustic menu of playful, artisanal dishes designed to be shared, and complemented by artfully crafted cocktails and small production wines. A Manhattan Beach resident, LeFevre is thrilled to bring the neighborhood a Social House where Guests come for dinner but stay for the spirited and engaging atmosphere.
When not in the kitchen, LeFevre enjoys riding his bike around his Manhattan Beach neighborhood and turning up the volume on some great tunes.
Uyen Nguyen Executive Pastry Chef
Uyen Nguyen was born in Bien Hoa, Vietnam and raised in Orange County, CA. As the youngest of six daughters, it was expected that she would take on a “traditional” career after receiving her Bachelors degree in International Relations from the University of California, Irvine. However, following a stint at a mortgage company, Nguyen bid adieu to corporate America and enrolled at the internationally acclaimed culinary institute, Ecole Lenotre in 2001.
With mixed reactions from her parents and a cheering section made up of her sisters and friends, she embarked on a fantastic journey, which has since included such celebrated establishments as Patisserie Gaulupeau in Versailles, France and Tom Collichio’s celebrated Craftsteak in Las Vegas. In 2006 Nguyen joined Three Star Michelin Chef, Guy Savoy’s first American restaurant at Caesar’s Palace where she became the first female Pastry Chef to lead Savoy’s team. The restaurant garnered Two Michelin Stars in 2007, after only one year of opening. In 2011, Uyen embarked on a new adventure as chef owner and operator of GORGE, where she managed operations and of course shared her passion for pastry with her guests. GORGE enjoyed critical acclaim and was named one of LA’s top 75 Restaurants in 2014 by Los Angeles Magazine.
Nguyen currently enjoys the role of Executive Pastry Chef where she brings her creativity, substantial pedigree, and exemplary leadership to the growing bread and pastry program at M.B. Post, Fishing with Dynamite and The Arthur J.
Russell Choi General Manager
Jerry Garbus Operating Partner & Wine Director
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jerry Garbus is a self–proclaimed Southern California boy. He got his start in the restaurant business as a bus boy and worked his way up to management. Honing his craft, Jerry spent time at PF Changs and at the Marriot Hotel before signing on with Kings Seafood Company. His passion drove him to serving as the General Manager and Wine Director at Ocean Avenue Seafood, i Cugini, and Water Grill.
As the Wine Director of Ocean Avenue Seafood, Jerry’s vision yielded an appearance in Patterson’s Beverage Journal — now Patterson’s Tasting Panel — that highlighted his efforts with the wine program. His efforts also earned him a nomination for Food & Wine Magazine’s “Hot Shot Sommelier” in 2008. In addition, Jerry’s experience in the beverage world extends into craft beer, artisanal spirits and mixology.
Jerry’s true love for the restaurant business comes from the fact that dining out is a human and visceral experience. “I remember most of the great meals I’ve had, who I had them with, the food I ate, the wine I was drinking and the occasion” he says, ”My job is essentially, to help in facilitating that kind of experience. To be an orchestrator of very special memories, if you will.”
When he’s not busy at M.B. Post, Jerry loves to travel, run, enjoy great meals with friends and dreams of taking on afternoon naps as a hobby.
Mike Simms & Simms Restaurant Group Partner
The Simms Restaurant Group, comprised of Tom, Chris and Mike Simms, holds over 30 years of operational knowledge and launch experience. Tom Simms Sr. opened his first restaurant, the French Quarter, in West Hollywood in 1973, and soon after purchased the Kettle Restaurant in Manhattan Beach in 1975. Eager to expand, he acquired a bankrupt restaurant group and grew it into the successful chain, Mimi’s Café. In July of 2004, after opening 81 restaurants Tom and his partners sold the company. He now pursues other interests including the growth of the Lazy Dog Café, Tin Roof Bistro, and Simmzy’s.
Exposed to the restaurant industry since childhood, Tom’s two sons, Mike and Chris, naturally decided to make their mark within the family business. Chris began his career with P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and in 2003, opened his first Lazy Dog Café. Named Nation’s Restaurant News’ Hot Concept! of 2009, the Lazy Dog Café has taken advantage of the recent economic environment, expanding its presence throughout Southern California. As CEO, Chris keeps a close eye on operations while guiding the concept and developing new sites resulting in the eighth and ninth Lazy Dog Cafés opening in 2011.
Mike, after graduating from Cornell’s Hotel School, worked in Napa Valley managing Tra Vigne restaurant. For the last three years, he has concentrated on opening and operating two restaurants in Manhattan Beach, Simmzy’s and Tin Roof Bistro. Mike, a Managing Partner of M.B. Post, will be readily available to assist in all major decisions, in addition to having an active hand in the beverage program. As a Manhattan Beach native and owner of restaurants in the area, Mike will bring a great sense of the community to the restaurant.