Chef Walter El Nagar has hosted pop-up dinners known as Barbershop Ristorante around L.A. for the past several years, and this time he's bringing the project inside LACMA. Yes, El Nagar is also an art curator. His work is consistently in high demand around the globe, leading him to 'exhibitions' in Moscow, Barcelona, and Ibiza.
This dinner is a celebration of friendship and a convivial experience sharing the passion for gastronomy that drives the team. And, personally, Chef el Nagar will pay homage to an individual central in his life and work.
Walter El Nagar: an Italian that is now a LA chef
Originally from Milan, the Italian chef says that his style of cooking has been very much influenced by his time spent in LA. By Mexican, by Peruvian, by Korean, by Japanese. But to LAist, Chef El Nagar explains that it “would not define it as fusion”. It's just the evolution of his style over the past years. The Italian feels that he his now the Los Angeles chef.
Prior to his more recent nomadic pop-up projects, El Nagar spent over five years lending his modern Italian sensibilities and training to kitchens around LA, including the since-closed Il Grano and La Botte. Prior to that, he spent time traveling and cooking around Mexico and previously Europe. In LA, he ran successful pop-ups at places like Japanese Knife Imports in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Yacht Club and the former AOC space.
Landing in some incredibly different neighborhoods of Los Angeles and, at times, opening his kitchen to influential colleagues, allowed him to get in touch with the rapidly evolving culinary trends that are unique to this metropolis, cook for vastly diverse audiences, experiment with cuisines of five continents, while exploring the bounty of California produce, and ultimately develop and crystallize a distinctive style that bridges his Italian heritage with the taste and sensitivity of a modern global citizen.