After three and a half years at Ray's and Stark Bar, the restaurant and bar operated by Joachim Splichal's Patina Group at LACMA, chef Kris Morningstar is leaving.

“I am writing to announce my departure from Ray's & Stark Bar,” Morningstar wrote in an email sent early this morning. “I have some new, fun things right in front of me,” he continued, promising to say more in the future. “I am truly grateful for all of the opportunity and mentorship Chef Joachim has extended to me over the years. I am, however, very excited to be pursuing new opportunities.”]

Morningstar opened Ray's, named in honor of the late film producer Ray Stark, as a lovely restaurant embedded in the center of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Putting restaurants into cultural spaces is a conceit much favored by Splichal, who also has restaurants in other museums, like pragmatic art installations. 

Under Morningstar, a Southern California native who had previously cooked at Meson G, Blue Velvet and District, the menu has been market-driven and vegetable-intensive, with dishes such as ramp risotto, whole roasted fava pods with olive oil, grilled puntarelle with anchovies, and English peas with gnocchi likely to grace his plates — as much art as the Chris Burden streetlamps that light the landscape beyond. 

Chef de cuisine Viet Pham, who opened Ray's with Morningstar, will take over for the departing chef. No word yet on where Morningstar will go. We'll keep you posted.

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