Laguna Beach native Lindsay Smith is truly a force to be reckoned with. Inspired by a childhood eating organic foods cooked from scratch, as well as watching Julia Child on PBS, Smith created wonderful memories around food. And this is when her passion was born. Throughout her life, she has kept her focus steady and shown her ability to continually adapt, grow and learn.
Lindsay started working in a restaurant at 15, and then studied Ayurvedic Medicine only to discover that was not her path. Her family then encouraged Lindsay to attend culinary school and, after one class, she knew she had found her calling.
She then went on to work alongside noted chef Pascal Olhats, who remains an important figure in Smith’s life. She moved on to the Ritz-Carlton, and then to develop her own catering business.
Chef Lindsay is known for her dedication to healthy, sustainable, organic and locally sourced “clean” and seasonal California cuisine. She and her food have been lauded in dozens of publications and have landed on many lists of top restaurants, including “Top Four Restaurants in Laguna Beach,” a town known for its fine dining. She was named as the only female “Top 10 Chefs Under 40 in OC” by OC Metro and has had years of rave reviews and awards from Zagat, Open Table, Yelp and more. In 2019, she competed on the Food Network’s show “Chopped,” and was chosen as the Festival of Chefs Orange County Honoree Chef and awarded by Chef Olhats and her peers for philanthropic commitment in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, she was the first small business owner to be honored for her community support and as an empowered female by California Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.
She has also been a remarkable role model to her two young sons, demonstrating willingness to risk, perseverance, and inner strength through difficult times, including a divorce.
Today, Chef Lindsay has created a new life for Nirvana Grille, now known as Nirvana Kitchen + Pantry. Everything may look a little different, but what will never change is Chef’s joy in cooking for guests, entertaining, and bringing joy to others.