Edmond Sarfati, the owner and chef of the beloved Lafayette Café in Garden Grove, passed away December 5, 2019 at 88 years old. Originally born in the Parisian district of Montmartre in France, he began cooking at his great aunt’s restaurant at only eight years old. He also spent time at other European restaurants honing his craft over the years. Chef Sarfati came to America at the age of 24. He arrived in California and gained prominence in the restaurant business through managing and cooking for several restaurants. Shortly after, Chef Sarfati was inspired to open his own restaurant and began working towards his goal.
Lafayette Café opened in 1972. Chef Sarfati and his restaurant became known for his delicious French dishes and outstanding wine pairings. Local French Chefs gave him rave reviews, referring to him as one of the best chefs of French cuisine. He once hosted the South Coast Bailliage of the Chaine des Rotisseurs for a Normandy dinner. Although Chef Sarfati’s menu did have typical French classics, such as escargots, pate maison, and pepper steak, he also included surprises on the menu like rabbit, dover sole, and frog legs Provencal. Additionally, he’d always keep a few French farmhouse dishes around and ready, just in case any friends dropped by.
In 2002, Lafayette Café closed its doors when Chef Sarfati retired at 71 years old, totaling thirty years of service. Back in 2014, Chef Sarfati and his grandson began to write a cookbook titled “Secret Recipes of Lafayette Café,” which was slated to include at least fifty of his recipes. Remy, Chef’s grandson has confirmed that the cookbook is still in the works and we’ll be notified when it is available. As one of the last great old classical French chefs, he leaves behind a legacy of authentic and creative French cuisine.
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Picture Source: “The Secret Recipes of Lafayette Cafe” Facebook