Imagine rising with the sun, hitting the beach and catching some waves, all before you’ve started your working day. This is the idyllic morning routine for many in Santa Monica, not least its resident chefs. California’s ethos on healthy living can be found at every turn, and with food at the heart of this, we wanted to find out more about these infamous ‘surfing chefs’ who are truly living the brand.
Setting our alarm a little earlier than usual vacation time, we made our way to Santa Monica beach to meet Raphael Lunetta, one of the neighborhood’s top chefs and a surf aficionado. Casting away the caricatured image of a surly chef, we are greeted by a cheerful, friendly local who is casually gearing up for a day of work. The beach has a quiet buzz from the moment the sun pokes over the horizon, and it would seem this part of daily life is a rather good antidote to the stress of the restaurant industry and long, hot days tirelessly running a world-class kitchen.
It’s not just Lunetta who takes to the waters each day to keep his mind and body balanced, many top chefs from here do. Perhaps being raised in this corner of California means that food and surf are focal points from an early age – and the result is that these local culinary heroes personify the active and healthy lifestyle. Wetsuit in hand, cycling the ocean paths to and from the beach, going via the farmers markets to pick up fresh ingredients for their daily menus; the chefs here are clearly inspired by every inch of their surroundings.
Even for those of us who aren’t chefs, it’s an enviable way to live and we were (as so often with California) left feeling both inspired and a little bit green-eyed. We’d swap with Lunetta in a second. Wouldn’t you?