Jason Travi will be coming back to cook in Los Angeles, after an extended time visiting family in Massachusetts and Tokyo, but it won't be at Fraîche, the restaurant he opened in Culver City in 2007. Nor will he be behind the stoves at
the second Fraîche, formerly Riva, which (re)opened last Wednesday. When reached by phone in New England over the weekend, Travi said that instead he'll be opening a new restaurant when he returns. "I'm going to do something on my own; it's a mutual understanding," said Travi. "We decided to go away for a long time; there's no way to leave for that much time and still be employed," said Travi, who has been traveling with his wife (and pastry chef) Miho and their infant daughter.
Travi's not sure about the specifics of the new restaurant yet, saying only that he has financial backing in place, and that he's not going to start looking at spaces until he and his family return in December. "It won't be in Santa Monica, and I love Culver City, but it's time to move on."
Asked whether Travi had given thought to staying in Massachusetts, where both his father and grandfather were chefs, Travi said no, citing the weather as a serious consideration. "We're not moving. I love it out here, but it's easy to come back to LA--especially after watching five minutes of baseball." (This was shortly after Travi's Red Sox were swept by the Angels in the first round of the AL playoffs, and Travi was still a bit upset.)
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When we called Amir Ohebsion, president of the Fraîche Management Group, he confirmed that Travi would not be returning. "That's what he told me... Yes, it's absolutely amicable," said Ohebsion. Elderoy Arendse takes over as chef de cuisine of Fraîche, Santa Monica, and Sydney Hunter III as chef de cuisine of Fraîche, Culver City. "Their names are already on the menus," said Ohebsion.