Jessica Largey — Chef/partner
Jessica Largey grew up in the small Ventura county town of Fillmore, surrounded by a gaggle of sisters and incredible farmland, spoiled by her family’s avocado tree. She started cooking at age 5 and never looked back. After culinary school, she went to fine dining boot camp at the acclaimed Providence restaurant in Los Angeles, where she learned many of the ideals she still holds herself to today. Her path led her north to Manresa where she expanded her deep love of vegetables and respect for how things grow. During her time there, she was named a rising star chef by publications including Zagat, Eater, StarChefs, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was also awarded the honor of James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2015. Jessica then took time off to realign herself, hike all the mountains, travel and find balance before diving back into the restaurant world. Her goals in opening Simone are to be an approachable and invested mentor who fosters a respectful work environment, create from a positive space, and to annoy everyone with constant reminders that 'Teamwork Makes the Dream Work'.
Bruno Bagbeni — Managing Partner
Bruno Bagbeni cut his teeth as a server at iconic New York restaurants including La Goulue, Tavern on the Green, Ferrier, Park Avenue Café, Jean-Georges, and Bouley. He was recruited to join the opening team at Bastide in Los Angeles under chef Alain Giraud and general manager Donato Poto, during which time Bastide attained the highest food and service rating by the Los Angeles Times. For four years, Bagbeni served as general manager of the esteemed Fraiche in Culver City and Santa Monica, and most recently helmed the front of house operations at FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place.
Jason Beberman — Chef de Cuisine
Jason Beberman is a native New Yorker who traded the subway for a surfboard when he moved to LA this past summer. Jason has been cooking for over 17 years, working at some of the best kitchens in NYC including: Town with Geoffrey Zakarian, Veritas with Scott Bryan, Gramercy Tavern with Michael Anthony and most recently he was the Director of Culinary Operations for Empellon with Chef Alex Stupak. Jason brings a love for delicious food and a passion for never ending change with him to Simone.
Iain McPherson — Bar Director
Young cocktail impresario Iain McPherson has progressed from bar back to bar owner in less than a decade. With three successful concepts under his belt in Edinburgh, Scotland, Iain ventures west to open Duello, the bar located within Simone that pays homage to the history of the Arts District. Iain opened his first speakeasy bar, Panda & Sons, at age 27, followed by Hoot the Redeemer in 2015, and Nautica in 2018. Iain has traveled around the world for cocktail competitions, including a recent trip to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, and Panda & Sons itself has played host to the semi-finals of the Diageo Reserve World Class, one of the industry’s most prestigious cocktail competitions, where Iain advanced to the UK finals in 2013 and 2014. Panda & Sons was nominated as one of the best International High-Volume Cocktail Bar in the 2017 and 2018 Tales of the Cocktail Spirit Awards and was also recently ranked #61 among the top 100 bars from The World’s 50 Best.
Jordan Egan — Beverage Director
A Chicago native, Beverage Director Jordan Egan fell into the restaurant industry by accident. Armed with a finance degree and preparing for law school, he began working in restaurants and became infatuated with front of house operations. Jordan spent a decade working with esteemed wine programs in Chicago and New York including NoMad, Boka Restaurant Group, and the Michelin-starred RIA at the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. Jordan designed SIMONE’s wine list to complement Chef Largey’s bright, acid-forward flavors. With a penchant for Old World wines, he assembled an expansive list of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner in particular with a focus on Germany and Austria, as well as a deep selection of esoteric varietals that speak to everyone from an entry-level palate to the most well versed wine drinker. Drawing inspiration from the restaurant’s namesake Simones—Nina and de Beauvoir—Jordan aims to capture the strong-willed nature of the former, and the European sensibility of the latter, through the wine list. In addition to the wine list, he also curates the beer and spirits selection at Simone and Duello.
Nina Subhas — Pastry Chef
Nina Subhas grew up in New Jersey, spending her summers chasing italian ice trucks and her winters dreaming of warm pie and vanilla ice cream. She worked most recently at Roberta’s in Brooklyn managing the bakery where her love of grains, natural fermentation and viennoiserie solidified. After one too many New York winters she relocated for the sun, the fruit, and the growing community of restaurants in LA. She is excited to get back to pastry and build not only a dynamic and delicious menu as a final impression for our guests but also to be a part of a collaborative and supportive team committed to learning and creating together. These days, if you are what you eat, she would be kulfi with sour cherry preserves.
Crystal Espinoza — Sous Chef
Crystal Espinoza was born and raised in Los Angeles, California mostly in the now ever so trendy Echo Park. She worked at Union in Pasadena as opening sous where she learned about the labor of love that is pasta. Over the years she has developed fondness for working with local farms and seasonal produce, bringing the value of the ingredient and its flavor into the spotlight. As a part of this opening team she hopes to grow and learn from all team members in an atmosphere that is both supportive and inspired. She looks forward to this growing experience with zeal and dedication.
Built in 1921, SIMONE is housed in a historic Arts District building, which was used as a photography studio for the past 35 years. Acclaimed interior designer Deirdre Doherty pays homage to the neighborhood’s history by retaining the original exterior brick walls and concrete floors and enhanced the space with Art Deco touches to create an “industrial deco” aesthetic. The addition of bronze and glass elements invoke an elegant, yet comfortable ambiance reflective of Chef Largey’s menu—simultaneously elevated and inviting.
Upon entering SIMONE, guests are greeted by the 25-seat bar, called Duello. Its channeled leather seats, leaded glass windows, and antique mirrors preview the 1920s influence throughout the design. Progressing into the space, bespoke brass and hand-blown glass lighting (custom designed by Jason Koharik) lead past the open kitchen and marble pastry area, to the six-seat walnut chef’s table, providing a glimpse behind the scenes.
The 75-seat dining room, illuminated by skylights above and handmade brass chandeliers, is lined with channel-tufted velvet banquettes, spacious brass-edged walnut wood tables, and handsome tweed and leather chairs. Custom stained glass and iron doors imbue a sense of drama into the room. One of the ornate, moody 12-seat private dining rooms features hand-painted burgundy toned Malachite walls by artist Michael Sullivan coupled with bespoke multi-armed articulating hand-blown glass and brass chandeliers. The other boasts hand-painted gold, black, and cream wallpaper on the ceiling, hand blown glass sconces and custom artwork by Ryan McCann.