We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony Jacquet and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anthony, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I began my journey as a Chef, my dream was always to open my own restaurant. I remember planning, sketching, imagining and writing menus as soon as I discovered the restaurant business at 21 years old. I am thankful the business found me. I don’t have a story of me loving cooking through out my childhood and teen years, but food always brought my family together and that meant something to me. My dream of what type of restaurant I would open evolved over the years and changed through out the changes in my own life. I had been working as an Executive Chef and doing good things. I was getting older, I had young kids and I was getting comfortable in my job. That’s when I knew I had to take the leap to re-ignite and blaze a trail toward my original dream. Comfort was a dangerous place to be in my mind. When I got serious, on now the 7th rendition of what restaurant I would open, I focused on learning as much as I could about the business, honing my skills as a leader, and seeking mentorship by those I respected and that have done it before. My thought process behind starting my own business was to be willing to take a risk, bet on and believe in myself, be a great leader, and do something that would benefit the community I lived in and impact the people closest to me. I wanted to make a difference, not only for myself, but for others as well.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We opened our business in May of 2016. I sought out my partner, Lea Newton, who is an expert baker and dessert maker. My goal was to create the best restaurant on Ventura Blvd. and one that our guests would visit multiple times per week and feel welcome with the warmest hospitality. The name of our restaurant, Claudine, is a tribute to my oldest Sister. She passed away in 2002 after losing her battle with cancer. But along the way, she always pushed me to follow my dreams to become a chef…to do what I wanted to do with my life. This has always been important to me and what better way to honor her life than open a restaurant in her name.
At Claudine, our mission is to create a menu that is from scratch, that is made from high quality and wholesome ingredients. Our produce is sourced locally, our meats, poultry and fish are raised humanely, antibiotic and hormone free, and we know where all of our products come from. I come from a fine dining background, so the same respect and thoughtfulness toward the sourcing and production of our ingredients applies in our very family friendly and casual environment. As our slogan states, “simple ingredients, expertly crafted”.
It has been a hard and rough road to get to where we are at today. We opened as 2 chefs rather than business owners. We did not start with enough money so we had to fight our way out of debt. It was very stressful, but with hard work, dedication toward our mission, tons of will power, superb hospitality, an amazing product that guests hungered for, and the willingness to listen to harsh criticism allowed us to grow as a restaurant, but better yet, as a business.
The best lessons I think to learn are that you must be willing to adapt to your current environment, believe in your mission, trust your instinct, listen to those around you and then make a decision always moving forward.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We live in a great city visitors! Sadly, as a restaurant owner and a dedicated Dad I don’t get out much!! I think the best part of our dining culture is the cultural diversity we have at the tip of our fingers. A few restaurants we would visit: Pine Tree in Northridge for Korean BBQ
Button Mash in LA for unique take on Asian food and a fun environment
Pita Pocket for made to order Laffa bread and sChwarma
Bar Ama for puffy tacos
Simpang Asia for the best Indonesian food in town
Animal – still a classic restaurant for bombastic flavors – pig ear with sunny side egg and sambal
Bay Cities for The Godmother
Wexler’s Deli for the Pastrami Reuben
and of course Claudine for the Brisket Breakfast Burrito and Malted Milk Pancakes
I would visit the Icehouse to see one of my best friends Rob Darocha do stand up comedy
Head to Knotts Berry Farm for shorter lines than Disney and pretty solid fried chicken
Of course a Dodger Game!! Huge fan.
And bring them as a guest to our 6am Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class or as a guest to Krav Maga Worldwide for self defense training
Hike out in Thousand Oaks to Paradise Falls
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost credit needs to be given to my wife, Nicole, and my twin daughters, Ava & Amalea. They are by far the largest support system and the motivation to get things done. They take the burden of risk right along with me and have always stood behind me. Secondly, my business partner and Co-Owner, Lea Newton, for fighting through the day to day with me and for providing a wealth of creative ideas that better our business. And lastly, my mentors. I lean on them for advice, support, but most of all, I seek their honest, and at times, brutal criticism that holds me accountable to my decision making and make me a better Chef, Business Owner, and Person. So a big thank you to Executive Chef at Riot Games Francisco Alvarez, Restaurant Owner of 6 concepts Tancredi DeLuca, and CEO of Menchies Amit Kleinberger.
Instagram: a_chefjacquet & claudinekitchen
Linkedin: Anthony Jacquet