With the opening of Kali Restaurant, Chef Kevin Meehan's broad 23-year culinary career reaches its apex. At Kali, Meehan, whose deft hand was cultivated in Los Angeles' most prestigious kitchens, joins forces with long-time friend and professional colleague, Drew Langley, previously the wine director at the iconic, Michelin-starred Providence.
For the 41-year-old Meehan, Kali represents the evolution of not just Kali Dining, his roving private dinner pop-up, but the rigorous years he spent refining his craft. The contemporary California restaurant blends the precision and hospitality of the white tablecloth kitchens where Meehan developed his culinary acumen, with the accessibility and ease of a local's favorite neighborhood haunt.
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Meehan's initial foray in the industry was at a fried chicken joint when he was a teenager. While most would be turned off by working the fryer, Meehan was feeding an innate attraction to food, and, in the process, unearthing what would become a life-long love affair with the restaurant world. After graduating high school, Meehan enrolled in the esteemed Culinary Arts program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, an education that he would test and sharpen on-the-line during an apprenticeship at the Michelin-starred L'alban Chambon under French Master Chef Dominique Michou, and, later, alongside Los Angeles' finest chefs.
In 2000, Meehan drove cross country to assume a post at the celebrated L'Orangerie, then helmed by Chef Ludo Lefebvre. It was there that Meehan met Langley, who he would subsequently work with at the now late Bastide, where Meehan served as Chef de Cuisine, and, later, at Citrine. After Citrine's closure in 2005, Meehan joined Patina Restaurant Group as Chef de Cuisine at Joachim Spichal's seminal Patina restaurant in Downtown. During his three-year tenure, the restaurant received a Michelin Star for its fresh interpretation of French cuisine informed by seasonality, and Meehan was consequently promoted to Executive Chef of Café Pinot.
In 2012, Meehan parted ways with the prolific restaurant group to launch his passion project, Kali Dining. The underground operation quickly garnered critical attention for Meehan's assertive, yet nuanced tasting menus that he prepared, dinner party-style, for Los Angeles top tastemakers, luminaries, and food enthusiasts. Kali the restaurant was birthed from the success of Kali Dining, and the passion that Meehan and co-owner Langley share for pushing the boundaries of the typical fine dining experience.
When Meehan is not in the kitchen, or finding inspiration from the stacks of books he collects, the Culver City resident and new father can be found spending time with his wife and twin girls, and watching English Premier League football games.
Co-Owner/Wine Director, Kali
While most known for his esteemed tenure as the Wine Director at the Michelin-starred Providence in Los Angeles, Drew Langley brings an extensive resume of experience to Kali Restaurant, a passion project born out of his 15-year friendship with Chef Kevin Meehan.
As Co-owner and Wine Director of the contemporary California restaurant near Hollywood's iconic Paramount Pictures Studios, the 39-year-old's near life-long matriculation in the food & beverage industry is fully realized. Kali blends the haute cuisine and hospitality of a fine dining destination with the accessibility of an everyday neighborhood haunt, and Langley's concise, intelligent wine program is a reflection of the core philosophy that defines the restaurant.
Born and raised in a small town in south Maryland, Langley's initial introduction to the industry was as a dishwasher at a local pizzeria at the age of 13. While his contemporaries found inspiration in the classroom, Langley was drawn to the rhythm and intensity of the restaurant world, acquiring a vast understanding of its inner workings through odd jobs that ran the gamut from line cook at regional chain Perkin's to corporate trainer for Applebee's openings to bar back at Solomon's Pier, a seafood restaurant and nightclub.
In 1997, the then 20-year-old Langley leapt at an opportunity to relocate to Los Angeles, and stumbled into a position at Greenblatt's, a beloved deli and wine shop in West Hollywood, that would ultimately pave the way for his future career. Langley furthered his three-year wine education at Greenblatt's with a position at Dennis Overstreet's Beverly Hills Wine Merchant, before joining the now-closed L'Orangerie in Beverly Hills as Sommelier in 2000. It was there that Langley crossed paths with Meehan, who he would subsequently work alongside at the late Bastide and Citrine.
After opening Bastide in 2002 as Commis Sommelier, and enjoying a stint as Wine Director at Citrine in 2003, Langley switched gears to lend support to entrepreneur and wine collector Jeff Smith for the launch of Carte Du Vin. His time at the local wine cellar management firm birthed and deepened relationships with prominent private collectors, relationships that inform his wine program at Kali today. In 2005, Langley joined the opening team at Providence, serving as Wine Director for Michael Cimarusti's nationally-acclaimed seafood destination through 2015 when he left to prepare for Kali's debut in early 2016.
An avid music enthusiast, when Langley is not refining his wine list with new finds or overseeing the day-to-day operations at Kali, the Koreatown resident can be found indulging in the local drum-and-bass culture.