Acknowledged as one of the country's premier restaurateurs and master chefs, Splichal, with his wife Christine, opened the famed Patina Restaurant in Los Angeles in 1989, and has since gone on to open five additional French bistro-style restaurants, a museum cafe, and a certain division. In 1995 he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, was named "Best California Chef" by them in 1991, and has twice been nominated "Best Chef of the Year" in 1991 and 1994. He was named in 1996 "Treasure of Los Angeles" by the Central City Association and Los Angles Mayor Richard Riordan. In 1997 he was voted Restaurateur of the Year by the California Restaurant Writers Association.
The New York Times describes Splichal's style as "clearly rooted in classic French cuisine, yet he adds a California sensibility that both lightens it and provides visual whimsy. If Mr. Splichal's cooking has a trademark, it might be called the crackerjack factor-there is a little surprise every time".
California's bountiful resources and a receptive business community in Los Angeles has provided Splice with the perfect environment in which to perfect his playful, yet perfectionist vision. His instincts have helped create a new standard of dining excellence in his adopted city. "I somehow felt that my restaurant concepts would find an appreciative audience here," he remarks, "and I'm gratified by the success I've been able to cultivate in this lively dining culture."
Patina's success enabled Joachim to open Pinot Bistro in Studio City, Patinette at MOCA and Cafe Pinot in downtown L.A., Pinot Hollywood in Hollywood, Pinot Blanc in St. Helena, Napa Valley and Pinot at the Chronicle in Pasadena; each adopting characteristics unique to their neighborhoods while maintaining Splichal's high standards of cuisine and service. Patina Catering flourishes amid the constant demand for special events and private parties.
In 1995, Splichal published "Patina Cookbook: Spuds, Truffles and Wild Gnocchi" (Colins Publishers), with text by noted food historian and Los Angeles Times staff writer Charles Perry.
Splichal has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant and hotel business. Born and raised in the Spaichingen, a small village in Germany, he left his home country at the age of 18 to work in the hotel industry allowing him to travel around the world-Canada, Morocco, Israel, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. He perfected his culinary training in France, where he worked as chef saucier at La Bonne Auberge, a Michelin three- star restaurant in Antibes, and at the legendary L'Oasis in La Napoule. At age 23, he was hired as sous chef by Jacques Maximin, who became his professional mentor, and worked at his side for four years at the Chantecler restaurant in the Hotel Negresco in Nice During this period, Splichal accumulated numerous culinary awards, including first prize for "Youngest and Most Creative Chef" from the Cercle Epicurien Society.
With nothing but trunks filled with personal belongings Splichal came to the United States in 1981 to serve as Executive Chef for the newly established Regency Club in Los Angeles. His reputation spread, and he proved wildly successful at the Seventh Street Bistro in downtown Los Angeles, an establishment he helped develop from the ground up. He left to open Max Au Triangle in 1984, where his memorable meals were the talks of L.A.'s food aficionados.
Splichal has consulted for numerous hotels and restaurants, including the Highland Inn in Carmel, the Ventana Inn in Big Sur, CA, and the Canyon Ranch resorts in Tucson, AZ and Lenox, MA. He has also consulted for Windstar Cruises, for whom he recreated their overall menu design and trained kitchen staff.
Some would find the challenge of running one successful restaurant enough but Christine Splichal's role as Joachim Splichal's wife and business partner expands far beyond the traditional boundaries of running a dining room. Christine, who holds an MBA in international management, compliments Joachim's rigorous European training and culinary artistry with her own modern day marketing savvy-an expertise that has helped build a network of businesses from the ground up.
Christine often puts in 12-hour days overseeing everything from endorsements, investor relations and management training seminars. She has successfully orchestrated the lucrative expansion of Patina's catering division, assisted in the opening of the new restaurant, and also implemented a holiday mail order gift catalog offering specialty items, gift certificates and cooking classes.
On a day that might include meeting with controllers and accountant, city officials, customers, investors and suppliers, Christine can still be found in the evenings at Patina, interacting with diners and adding a warm personal touch. She still keeps tracks of diners' experiences via response cards that have in turn helped her build an active customer mailing list.
Christine knowledge of the food business began with her family's Basque Country pastry and catering business. Crediting her parents for teaching her the values of hard work, Christine favored the business side of received a Bachelor's degree in business administration in 1982 from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Poitiers. She was awarded a scholarship in pursue graduate work in the U.S., and received her master's degree in 1983 from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, Arizona. After completing her graduate work, Christine decided to pursue a career in the United States, and like Joachim began her life in the United States with nothing but a few personal belongings. Before opening Patina in 1989, Christine worked with the Pershing Square Management Association, a non-profit organization partially sponsored by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, in the revitalization of Pershing Square in downtown LA as a multi-use commercial/entertainment complex. Christine also worked with Linda Griego in successfully salvaging from demolition a landmark firehouse in Downtown LA and turning it into a three story office building with a restaurant on the ground floor. In 1996 Christine was honored with the Hollywood "Women of Distinction Award" by Council member Jackie Goldberg and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer for her efforts in the ongoing expansion of Patina & Pinot Restaurants-since its inception in 1989.