Kristi Ritchey - Executive Chef
When it comes to crafting the ideal menu to support a healthy lifestyle, Executive Chef Kristi Ritchey is the perfect chef for the job. Recently featured in both USA Today and the LA Times for her own personal weight-loss triumph, Chef Ritchey knows exactly what it takes to live healthier through good eating by adjusting the way you view food and the way you approach each day. Out of necessity, she changed her lifestyle, and in less than a year she lost over 110 pounds by focusing on a healthier diet and a consistent exercise regimen including Barry’s Bootcamp in West Hollywood. As she told USA Today, "It's why I love being a part of Greenleaf, trying to help people be healthier. I want to help others the way I’ve been helped and pay it forward."
A native of Williamsport, PA, Chef Ritchey first caught the cooking bug while working at a small, traditional Italian restaurant in the city. The owner of the restaurant saw so much potential in her that he urged her to pursue a professional career in the culinary arts. After attending culinary school at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Chef Ritchey relocated to California’s Napa Valley, where she first landed a cooking position with Restaurant Pinot Blanc, the area’s flagship restaurant from Chef Joachim Splichal’s Los Angeles-based Patina Group. There, under the tutelage of Chef Greg Stillman, Chef Ritchey was promoted to the position of Sous Chef in less than a year. To this day, Chef Ritchey credits Chef Stillman as one of the greatest positive influences on her cooking style and philosophy. From Pinot Blanc, the Patina Group relocated Chef Ritchey to Palm Springs, for the opening of Eat at The Desert in the chic Hotel Zoso and then soon thereafter she was asked to assist with the opening of the company’s Eat on Sunset with Chef Gary Menes.
After Eat on Sunset was up and running, Chef Ritchey was sought after by entrepreneurs Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans, who asked her to come on board as Executive Chef for their first Los Angeles restaurant project, Murano Restaurant and Lounge. Chef Ritchey joined the Murano team in the early planning stages, assisting with kitchen designs, menu concepts and staffing. While at Murano, LA Direct Magazine named her one of LA’s Top Chefs, stating, “There aren’t many 26-year-old female Executive Chefs in the Los Angeles arena of fine dining. Kristi Ritchey, the mastermind behind the French-Italian menu at the new Murano Restaurant in West Hollywood, has earned her title by having tremendous dedication to her passion for cooking.”
In June of 2008, Chef Ritchey left Murano to join friend and former Patina co-worker Jonathan Rollo with the opening of his first restaurant, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Beverly Hills. As Executive Chef of Greenleaf, Chef Ritchey assisted in developing many of the key items on their menu. “Eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet”, says Ritchey, who is thriving in a kitchen that combines her passion for creating unique gourmet dishes and her desire to combine those tastes with a healthy lifestyle.