Chef Morningstar’s Garden at LACMA

If you’ve happened to poke your head behind the walls of Ray’s and Stark Bar, you’ve probably come across our newest outdoor project—an herb garden. 

The herb garden behind Ray's.

Ray’s executive chef Kris Morningstar considered a number of things before planting the raised gardens. He focused on ingredients that can be sustainable; those that would be used regularly for his seasonal dishes and in portions that the garden can supply enough of. He also selected herbs that are difficult to find, or even if they could be, they’d never be as fresh as those picked straight from the museum’s back yard.

Herbs from the garden.

Take these chive blossoms; only a pinch is needed to add fresh pops of flavor chef Morningstar’s pen shell clam sashimi with backyard grapefruit, serrano chili, Maldon salt, and local olive oil. Fresh opal basil from the garden completes one his signature dishes, squid ink tonarelli with calamari, garlic, serrano chili, mint, and bottarga.

Squid-ink tonarelli with calamari, garlic, serrano chili, mint, and bottarga


Chef Morningstar does some gardening.

Like any artist, Chef Morningstar finds himself not only inspired by his ingredients, but also influenced by his environment. And like any living artwork, the garden is a work in-progress to be used increasingly as it continues to grow. The chef’s work doesn’t stop there; keep your eyes peeled—Chef Morningstar says another garden of tomato plants may be on the way.

Christine Choi, Communications Manager
Photos by Lauren Noble

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