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Thursday, February 15, 2007 

The Hungry Cat...is prowling toward Santa Barbara

The Cat's going to be let out of the bag in March. I'm hoping that it will break the curse of "nothing lasting" at that corner location. It seems that Suzanne and David are really working on making it "work" for the "local" Barbarians. They champion the right "causes" - fresh, organic, sustainable, local.
The corner of Anapamu and Chapala is a buzz of activity, as chef-restaurateurs Suzanne Goin and David Lentz prepare to open their new restaurant, The Hungry Cat, at the end of March. Suzanne and David have a sister restaurant in Hollywood also called The Hungry Cat that will be two years old in March, and Suzanne owns two restaurants in Los Angeles, Lucques and A.O.C., with a separate partner. In an interview in their new space last week, David explained how on a wedding anniversary a few years ago they stayed at the San Ysidro Ranch and had a revelation that it would be great to open a restaurant in Santa Barbara. “The Hungry Cat almost fits Santa Barbara more than it fits Hollywood,” he says with Suzanne adding, “We love the pace, vibe and architecture here. This building is what we were looking for. This is what we love. We’re excited to be up here.” - The Montecito Journal
And, wow...what a "scruptious" resume they both bring with them.

Suzanne Goin began her culinary career in 1984 when she interned in the pastry kitchen of the legendary restaurant MA MAISON as a high school senior. Leaving her native Los Angeles for Brown University late that year, she discovered the award-winning restaurant AL FORNO (chefs George German and Johanne Killeen) and began her career in earnest. Along the way to graduating with honors in history from Brown, Suzanne worked at Los Angeles' top rated L'ORANGERIE over the summer and at the Roux brothers LE MAZARIN in London while studying at the London School of Economics.

In 1990 Suzanne headed back to California to work at Alice Water's famed restaurant CHEZ PANISSE in Berkeley. Suzanne was chosen twice to travel with chef Peggy Smith to Bordeaux to cook at VINEXPO as a representative of California and CHEZ PANISSE. After two years at CHEZ PANISSE, Suzanne followed her dream of working in France first at Didier Oudill's two-star restaurant PAIN, ADOUR ET FANTASIE , then with Alain Passard at his three-starred ARPEGE in Paris and finally at the fourth arrondissement's favored PATISSERIE CHRISTIAN POTTIER. - How to Cook Everything

(and, of course, you might have caught a glimpse of Suzanne on an episode of Top Chef.)
For David Lentz, the professional kitchen was love at first sight. While in college, the former drama major decided to take classes at a nearby culinary school. Smitten with the hands-on nature and rigorous lifestyle of a chef, Lentz never looked back. He was the executive chef at the China Grill’s Las Vegas location, and also completed a stint at LA’s Campanile before heading the kitchen at Opaline. At the Hungry Cat, which he opened in 2005 and co-owns with wife/fellow chef Suzanne Goin (of Lucques and AOC fame) - Star Chefs

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How do places that aren't that good open more locations?

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