Jetsetting With Master Chef Joachim Splichal
For Joachim Splichal, founder and chef of the Patina Restaurant Group, cuisine and travel make the perfect pair. Together with restaurateur Nick Valenti, chef Splichal developed the restaurant group to include approximately 60 restaurants and food service operations in performing arts center across the United States. And now, the chef can add an airline to that list; he recently collaborated with Japanese airline ANA to provide inflight meals for Business Class fliers heading to and from Los Angeles, serving travelers fine dining at 30,000 feet.
Where does this top chef go for a fantastic meal? We got the scoop along with chef Splichal’s travel advice and recommendations.
Q: What type of traveler are you?
A: I see myself as both a cultural explorer and a free spirit.
Q: What types of activities do you like to do on your travels? Do you look for a place where it’s quiet and you can relax or someplace that has great activities or nightlife?
A: I really enjoy playing tennis and boating, as well as relaxing on the beach. Also, trying out great restaurants is a huge part of my travels.
Q: When thinking about where you will travel to next, what inspires you to make a decision? And what, if any, research do you do about that destination?
A: I tend to pick exotic locales or select a place I’ve never been before—a first-time, new discovery. I also like anyplace that’s sunny and warm and has a prevalence of amazing restaurants.
Q: What is the most memorable trip you’ve taken and why?
A: On a sailboat cruise off of Sicily with my family. And, of course, there was great food both on and off board.
Q: What is the best food you’ve ever found on a trip?
A: In San Sebastian, Spain. Even though there are a lot of Michelin-starred restaurants in this area, it was actually at a small tapas place in the old town.
Q: What, if anything, do you always take with you when you travel?
A: Sunscreen and a good book.
Q: What’s your best piece of travel advice?
A: Take non-stop flights.
Q: Is there a destination to which you can’t imagine not returning?
A: Every location I’ve ever been to, I’ve always wanted to go back. There’s always something new to explore or an old favorite to revisit.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: Los Alamos, California. It’s just a couple of hours away from Los Angeles in the Santa Ynez Valley area, which is known for its wineries. My favorite restaurant there is this casual spot called Full of Life Flatbread. They have great pizza and wine, and it’s a hospitality and wine industry hangout—a lot of winemakers and sommeliers in the area visit, so it’s a friendly atmosphere.
Q: Where would you like to travel to next?
Q: Tell us about your upcoming project(s)?
A: I have the lifelong dream of someday owning a winery.
Chef Splichal’s Bio:
Celebrated by Bon Appetit and Food Network as “Restaurateur of the Year,” Joachim Splichal has been a leading force behind Los Angeles’ growth into one of the world’s premier dining capitals. The essential “ingredient” behind Patina Restaurant Group’s extraordinary family of restaurants, Joachim has developed a devoted global following as one of the most talented chefs on the American culinary scene, a true master of innovative cuisine and playful perfectionism. His involvement in each and every detail of guests’ experiences drives the restaurant group’s ceaseless commitment to quality and detail and guarantees “the personal touch” that only Patina Restaurant Group can offer.
Follow chef Splichal on Twitter.