Our Chef, David LeFevre

Chef-owner David LeFevre

Manhattan Beach Post, Fishing with Dynamite, The Arthur J

Chef David LeFevre, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, developed his passion for cooking as a child by helping his Mother in the kitchen. He says, “I loved the food my mother made and realized that if I knew how to cook, I wouldn’t have to wait for someone else to cook for me.” Yet as a teen he set off on the Industrial Engineering track at the University of Wisconsin, temporarily forgoing his culinary pursuits. Of course, it wasn’t long before LeFevre left the Engineering world and, after working in various restaurants, enrolled at the renowned Culinary Institute of America. It was during this time that he interned at Chef Charlie Trotter’s celebrated restaurant in Chicago and made such an impression that he landed a job as tournant at Trotter’s Las Vegas, where he worked until it closed in 1995.

LeFevre seized the opportunity to travel to France and hone his classical skills in some of the world’s most distinguished kitchens. This experience enhanced his resume with a list of apprenticeships that include the late Bernard Loiseau’s restaurant, La Côte d’Or, Restaurant Jean Bardet and Roger Vergé’s Le Moulin de Mougins. Upon returning to the United States, LeFevre moved to Chicago to once again work with his mentor Charlie Trotter where he quickly advanced to become Executive Sous Chef.

In addition to pursuing his responsibilities in one of America’s top kitchens, LeFevre also participated in national and international culinary events cooking alongside some of the world’s best chefs and heads of state.  LeFevre developed recipes that ultimately appeared in several of Trotter’s award-winning coffee table cookbooks and as a representative of Trotter’s, he contributed to the production of the PBS television series, Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter.

In 2002, LeFevre decided to explore new cuisines, which launched him on a two-year globetrotting experience all over Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, the Caribbean, and Europe. He consulted, made guest appearances and conducted promotional events in destinations as diverse as Singapore, Bangkok, Stockholm and Tokyo by teaming up with leading hoteliers and restaurateurs. 

In 2004, LeFevre was recruited as Executive Chef of the Water Grill, downtown Los Angeles’ seminal seafood restaurant.  Under LeFevre’s six-year culinary leadership Water Grill earned a coveted Michelin star in 2007 and 2008, and further solidified its reputation as one of Los Angeles’ premier destination restaurants.

At his first restaurant Manhattan Beach Post (M.B. Post), LeFevre returned to his roots with a highly personal and soulful restaurant offering a more rustic menu of playful, artisanal dishes complemented by artfully crafted cocktails and small production wines.  Opened in April of 2011, M.B. Post was named one of Los Angeles Magazine’s 2011 Best New Restaurants, 10 Most Memorable Meals by the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila, and 10 Best Dishes of 2011 by LA Weekly restaurant critic Jonathan Gold.  Culminating a whirlwind first year was M.B. Post’s selection as a semi-finalist for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards for Best New Restaurant, and LeFevre’s selection as a semi-finalist in the Best Chef Pacific category.  LeFevre was again selected for Best Chef West for M.B. Post in 2013 and 2014.  The restaurant continues to impress with positions on the Los Angeles Times’ 101 from 2012 to 2018, and a Michelin Bib Gourmand award and appearance on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate in 2019.

In 2013, LeFevre opened Fishing with Dynamite, a celebration of summers spent on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and SoCal’s vibrant beach communities.  The cheerful, 32-seat restaurant is anchored by a lively oyster bar and features a menu of “old school” traditional seafood fare and “new school” dishes highlighting flavors from around the globe.  Fishing with Dynamite has been celebrated for serving only the most pristine seafood with accolades that include “Best Oyster Bar” and Best New Restaurant by Los Angeles Magazine, OpenTable’s 100 Best Restaurants in America (2016, 2017 and 2019) and a Michelin Plate in 2019.

LeFevre opened his third Manhattan Beach Restaurant, The Arthur J in June of 2015.  The Arthur J is a modern neighborhood steakhouse featuring a wood-fired grill and LeFevre’s own take on steakhouse favorites in addition to dishes inspired by his roots, travels and the best artisanal ingredients. The Arthur J pays tribute to the legendary hospitality of Arthur J. Simms – family patriarch of LeFevre’s partners Mike, Chris and Tom Simms – by welcoming guests into a stunning space evocative of a glamorous, 60’s Palm Desert getaway.  Upon opening The Arthur J enjoyed a three-star review in Los Angeles magazine, and has gone on to earn a spot on OpenTable’s 100 Best Restaurants in America in 2018, Los Angeles Times’ 101 Best Restaurants in 2019 and a Michelin Plate in 2019.

LeFevre has been featured on such shows as Iron Chef Gauntlet, The Cooking Channel’s Road Show with G. Garvin and Unique Eats, and has made regular appearances as a judge on FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef.  He is also a regular contributor to cooking segments on The Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family. 

When not in the kitchen LeFevre enjoys studying design, and spending time with his wife KC and pup Rocky while enjoying their Manhattan Beach community.  LeFevre currently serves on the dineLA Advisory Board and was the 2019 Growing Great Honoree for his work with the non-profit. 

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