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Maiki Le
Maiki Le
Executive Chef
Maiki Le’s passion for food began at an early age. The daughter of Vietnamese war refugees, she enjoyed cooking with her family, recreating Vietnamese dishes with an American pantry. Her fascination with food grew into a very involved hobby as she began scouring recipes in magazines and preparing sweets and dinners for her friends. By the time she reached her senior year of high school, she began working as a server at Norm’s, while also taking classes at the Orange County School of Culinary Arts. She graduated from El Modena High School as salutatorian and then moved across the country to attend Brown University. Throughout her college years she worked as an Assistant Manager for the university’s dining services program, running the student division of the kitchen department.

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2004, she moved to New York to pursue her dreams of cooking in Manhattan. She studied pastry arts at the French Culinary Institute and began working as tournant with acclaimed Chef Patricia Yeo at Sapa. Under Yeo’s mentorship, she learned to train her palate to taste for balance, work with a sense of urgency, delicate knife work, and classic cooking technique. When Yeo moved on to open Monkey Bar, Maiki was promoted to Sous Chef to assist in the opening and fine tune her logistical and organizational skills. She then went to work with Chef Jehangir Mehta and helped him open Graffiti, an eclectic, small-plates food and wine bar. During her time there, she was honored to compete as Sous Chef for Mehta in the finals of The Next Iron Chef.

Maiki moved to Los Angeles in 2009 and began working as Chef de Cuisine with Chef Josie LeBalch at Josie Restaurant. She assisted in the opening of Momed in Beverly Hills and also Next Door by Josie. While working with LeBalch, she celebrated victories on the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle as well as Chopped. Working with LeBalch rounded out her experience as a chef, training her in European and American cuisine, cooking with game meats, and honing her skills as a leader. In 2014 she began working with Belcampo Meat Co. She helped the company open multiple locations including Grand Central Market, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and the Farm Kitchen pop up. As Head Chef, she opened their flagship location in Santa Monica, creating a meat-centric menu featuring the organic, pastured, humanely raised animals.

As Executive Chef at Upstairs 2, Chef Maiki has created a globally inspired, seasonal menu that focuses on pairing food and wine. She is excited to expand her knowledge and skills with this new opportunity.