Husband and wife team Francisco and Erica live in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Francisco started cooking at The Ballard Inn and Restaurant where he first became accustomed to using Asian ingredients under the guidance of chef Budi Kazali, owner of The Ballard Inn and Gathering Table.
In 2013, Erica and Francisco met in San Diego while working together at the Marine Room, the flagship restaurant of The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. They learned team work in a high-paced kitchen, under chef de cuisine Ron Oliver and executive chef Bernard Guillas.
Together they made their way north to Napa Valley and worked at Michelin starred restaurant La Toque, and at acclaimed Iron Chef Morimoto's Morimoto Napa.
After leaving Napa and moving to Sonoma County, they found an opportunity to work at a small ramen shop in Sebastopol, CA.
Ramen Gaijin became their home for the next 3 years, where they helped the restaurant grow into a Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded ramen shop and izakaya.
Now they have moved back to the Santa Ynez Valley and hope to share their love for Japanese food and ramen with the community!
Budi Kazali was born in Indonesia and grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. He has worked side by side with great chefs such as Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger in Boston and Gary Danko at the Michelin starred restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco. Budi and his wife Chris purchased The Ballard Inn in 2004 and have worked hard to make it an AAA Four Diamond awarded inn and culinary destination.
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