Ori grew up traveling with his family and was exposed to fine dining across the globe, but it wasn’t until his year-long stay in South America, where he realized his passion for cooking. Genevieve is a self-taught pastry chef who started baking out of necessity to satisfy her sweet tooth. At the time, she was studying to be a classical French horn player.
In 2001, Ori returned to Los Angeles. He landed his first kitchen job at an Israeli cafe, before working at La Terza—the restaurant where Ori and Genevieve, who was a hostess, met for the first time. From there, Ori spent time in the kitchens of Pizzeria Mozza, All’ Angelo, and under chef Gino Angelini at Angelini Osteria, where he worked for four years as chef de cuisine.
In 2010, Menashe and Gergis decided it was time to pursue their long awaited dream of opening a restaurant together. With a background in the field of interior design and furniture, Gergis played a key role in the design of Bestia and began working towards building a front of the house career. As time went on, that decision took a sharp turn when just a few months prior to opening in 2012, her obsession with sugar and her husband’s love of her desserts took reign and it was decided that she would take on the role as pastry chef.
At Bestia, Menashe and Gergis work alongside each other to create a true husband and wife restaurant. Bestia is a multi-regional rustic Italian restaurant focusing on a “from scratch” approach, offering house-made charcuterie, in addition to handmade pastas and pizza made in an Acunto oven. On the pastry side, Gergis’s desserts focus on a clean and simple approach to create a daily changing menu that is centered on the freshest, most local ingredients possible.
In 2013 Bestia received praise from Los Angeles Times’ Jonathan Gold; three stars from Besha Rodell at LA Weekly; and three stars from Patrick Kuh at Los Angeles Magazine which would then declare Bestia one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants that year. The restaurant gets consistent recognition by Jonathan Gold for his annual Gold List, and Besha Rodell for LA Weekly’s Essentials list. In 2014, Menashe was named the People’s Best New Chef, California for Food & Wine and in 2015, he was honored among Food & Wine’s ten Best New Chefs. When not in the kitchen, Menashe and Gergis can be found spending time with their daughter Saffron.
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award