Laurent Brazier, the celebrated French-born chef who has honed his culinary skill in kitchens from Paris to Orange County, has brought his 35 years of experience to the Christ Cathedral Campus.
“‘It’s an exciting time to be at Christ Cathedral,” said Brazier, donning a white chef’s coat, on a recent afternoon.
Brazier, a classically trained chef and wine sommelier, oversees catering on the Christ Cathedral Campus through an exclusive agreement between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and White House Catering. At Christ Cathedral, Brazier creates menus each week for a broad variety of events, ranging from staff luncheons, quinceañeras, weddings, memorials, fundraising benefits and VIP dinners.
“We’re flexible,” Brazier said. “We want to be sure we provide many menu options.”
An in-house chef overseeing event menus allows for a responsive, personal experience for guests and the flexibility to craft a diverse range of menu items based on their preferences and budget, said Cathryn Wallace, senior events manager at the Christ Cathedral.
“His versatility enables us to serve anyone who walks onto our property,” Wallace said. “He brings an extension to our team that is beyond comparison.”
Guests have taken notice. With a jam-packed event schedule, Brazier only recently had time to set up his office on the 8th floor of Hope Tower, overlooking the Christ Cathedral campus in Garden Grove.
“It’s just been so busy,” he said.
Brazier, who lives in Alisa Viejo with his wife and 8-year-old daughter, is the son of acclaimed chef Maurice Brazier, who is now the chef de cuisine at White House Catering.
Brazier grew up in Strasbourg, France, near the German border. Although he was always drawn to the kitchen because of his father, Brazier trained as a teenager to be a professional pianist. But after a two-month stint working in a kitchen at the Le Meridien Hotel in Paris, his career as a chef was set.
Brazier’s resume is extensive, with a career that began inside the busy kitchens of Michelin – starred restaurants in Paris. Brazier launched a fine dining restaurant in Beirut, Lebanon and oversaw high-volume kitchens at the former Le Meridien Hotel in Newport Beach. He’s designed instruction programs for culinary students and developed an intensive professional chef program at Laguna Culinary Arts in Laguna Beach and La Cuisine Culinary Arts in Costa Mesa.
Brazier owned and operated Bistro Papillote, the popular French cafe at South Coast Collection in Costa Mesa, before turning his attention full time to the famed Anaheim White House Restaurant and White House Catering.
Armed with menus he first developed in his native France and perfected through the course of his career, Brazier works with two assistants to craft a broad range of menu items for guests to the Christ Cathedral Campus: One morning it may be a simple breakfast service with coffee and croissants, the next night it’s an elegant dinner with filet minion or Chilean Sea bass.
“Anything that is needed, I am here,” he said. ‘I can make it happen.”
Brazier’s team can accommodate events ranging from 10 to 2,000 people. He works with fresh, high-quality ingredients to ensure each dish meets the high expectations of campus guests. All food is prepared and stored on site, in a large restaurant style kitchen that is inspected regularly by the Orange County Department of Environmental Health.
“I bring fine dining experience to high-volume cooking,” he said.
His work extends outside the kitchen. Continuing a commitment by Anaheim White House Restaurant’s and the Diocese of Orange to community service, Brazier and the Christ Cathedral campus’ events team ensure all left over food is distributed to the local homeless.
“We’re not wasting anything,” said Wallace. “We’re aligned in our mission of the Diocese.”