One would never guess, after experiencing the excellence of Chef Rich Mead’s cuisine, that he was once paper-pusher for the IRS. Understandably, Rich wasn’t very happy with the position and dreamt of a better life. Desperately in need of a shake-up, Rich moved to Mammoth where he took up skiing. To fund his frequent trips to the slopes, Rich returned to the vocation that got him though his college years: catering and cooking. It did not take him long to realized that cooking was his true passion.
When offered the opportunity to get into the restaurant business, Rich jumped at the chance and was soon working on the menu and concept for Stanley’s, a restaurant in Sherman Oaks. As executive chef and kitchen manager, he helped open another Stanley’s three years later.
Ready to make a name for himself, Rich opened Santa Monica’s 17th Street Cafe in 1989. A regular watering hole and hangout for celebrities, the restaurant garnered its own amount of fame thanks to innovative dishes and fresh ingredients.
Nearly a decade later, Rich was ready for a larger challenge and sold his portion of the 17th Street Cafe. With the money, he opened Sage, a smaller restaurant where he focused his energies on further developing his cooking style. Despite its strip mall location, rave reviews followed-from the local OC Weekly proclaiming Sage “impeccable fine-dining” to the ubiquitous Zagat Guide’s declaration of “culinary paradise.”
Rich’s most recent endeavor is Canyon. Another bastion of casual dining located in Anaheim Hills that has quickly establlished itself as a local favorite.