An impassioned team of some of L.A.’s top chefs converged on Jill Davies’ The Mar Vista on Monday night to celebrate the life of visionary chef Joe Miller, who passed away at the end of October at the age of 60.
Miller opened the Michelin awarded Joe’s Restaurant in September 1991 and established himself as one of the best chefs in the country. Consistently rated by the Zagat Survey as a top 10 restaurant in Los Angeles, it’s served Santa Monica and the Abbot Kinney area of Venice for 24 years.
Joe’s Restaurant first opened in 1991, a landmark on Abbot Kinney in Venice, receiving rave reviews throughout its 24-year history. He grew the business from a small neighborhood restaurant to an award-winning, Michelin-starred restaurant and was a launching pad for many of the chefs in Southern California and around the country. Serving California-French cuisine, Miller was at the forefront of farm-to-table creativity and locally sourced ingredients.
Redbird’s Neal Fraser grilled rib-eyes in Clark Staub’s Full of Life Flatbread oven parked on Venice Boulevard, while a massive paella party took place on the patio. Chef Josh Gil served up a mouth-watering kampachi aguachile, alongside Raphael Lunetta’s mind-blowing bouillabaisse. L.A.’s own Govind Armstrong had an heirloom tomato salad on the menu, served with mountains of Nathan Dakdouk’s freshly baked Larder Company bread. There were fresh oysters, a bounty table of produce that included Weiser Family Farms radishes, Staub’s whole fried local rock fish and pho from Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens. Ben Ford brought on a mountain of fall vegetables.
“I grew up in Venice just at the time when Joe’s was changing the landscape of the Abbot Kinney neighborhood,” Armstrong told L.A. Weekly as chefs and guests shared memories about Miller. “He was a mentor to me and so many people and losing him at such a young age is a real loss.”
Famous for being one of the first L.A. restaurants to source ingredients from the local farmers market, Alex Weiser from Weiser Family Farms was on hand to reminisce. “Joe was always there to show support for all of us farmers,” Weiser, whose produce is on half the menus in Los Angeles, told the crowd. “We are really going to miss seeing that face at the market.”