Interview with Chef Luca Crestanelli of SY Kitchen

During a recent visit to Santa Barbara’s beyond charming Los Olivos, read more Los Olivos here, I was told SY Kitchen was one of the most incredible restaurants and a must to experience. Sure enough, the recommendations were spot on. I went my first night during my weekend stay in Los Olivos and fell in love. Not only with the charming restaurant set in a victorian house but with the cuisine and most importantly, the Chef spearheading this killer culinary destination.

After spending a few hours at the bar eating alone, which I love to do and always leads to meeting new friends I went to say good bye to Chef Luca and his brother Sous Chef Francesco.  They were both so warm, welcoming and friendly. Even on a Friday night at 9:30pm we chatted for about 15 minutes. Regardless, after getting to know Luca and falling in love with his restaurant I figured he’d be another fabulous chef to include in my Chef Interview series (read more here).  Thanks again Luca for making this interview happen.  Read more about Chef & Partner Luca below.

SY Kitchen

What was your fist memory of cooking and what did you cook? 

I was 8 years old and made chocolate pudding.

What is a knife you can not live with out? 

Any knife as long as it’s a sharp one.

What is one ingredient you can not cook with out?  What is one dish you can not live with out? 

Olive oil & Pizza.

What was one of the biggest mistakes you made your first year out of school?

 I can’t really comment on mistakes, experience was the best teacher.

When did you know you wanted to become a chef? 

When I heard I would become rich and famous, of course!

What was your first role as a chef? 

It was an amazing seafood restaurant in Italy. The Chef bolted and I had to step in for a while.

Who has been the most influential mentor/chef in your career? 

Nicola Mastronardi

What gave you the idea/inspiration for the menu and and concept at SY Kitchen?

Me, without a real job for 8 months

What is your favorite after work drink?


What is your favorite local spot? 

My house on a day off.

Tell us something that would surprise people about you? 

I can’t. I don’t want to go back to jail.

SY Kitchen

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