A passionate chef, loving father, and dutiful owner of LucaBella Fine Foods has worked hard for the life he has now.
With options like Crispy Dates, Pear & Walnut Salads, and Barramundi Sea Bass, Christian Felippa is captivating customers through his enticing foods.
Felippa was born in Arcadia, and attended culinary school. He is a father of two kids, Luca and Bella. His wife is a schoolteacher in the Arcadia school district, teaching and coaching other teachers.
Felippa has been an executive chef since 1994, and admits that he is “addicted to the cooking profession.”
His love for food all began with his sister. She opened a little café, and he worked for her during college. Eventually, she asked him to be her partner. But problems arose, and the café had to be sold. So he went to Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and began working at various restaurants.
After culinary school, Felippa went to work for Michel Richard, a celebrity chef who created Maison Richard, a French restaurant. Then Serrano Investment Inc recruited him and he helped opened Mosun in Laguna Beach, a sushi bar and Asian fusion with a nightclub upstairs. He then opened Ten Asian Bistro in Newport Beach with the same company.
After working with the company as executive chef and managing partner for seven years, he left the company and joined The Raymond in Pasadena as an executive chef. Through his whole journey experimenting with different styles of food, Felippa admits that his favorite has been working with the sushi restaurants.
“I’m a sucker for sushi.” Felippa laughed.
Felippa decided to quit the Raymond after three years, to have more time with his family. In 2007, he started up LucaBella Inc in the Albertsons plaza as a side job that just dealt with catering so he could maintain his own schedule and spend time with his family. It grew to become LucaBella Fine Foods in 2010.
He then had a chance to move his restaurant to downtown Glendora, and life began to get hectic as he tried to “balance life and the kids and family, while working hard.”
His dream has been to have a small place, but still be able to spend quality time with his family. But the restaurant industry is a difficult one, and Felippa constantly had to bring his A-game 24/7 to satisfy customers. But he has been lucky to have his wife help out with many behind the scenes aspects of the restaurant.
“There’s no breaks,” Felippa admitted.
Felippa was given an opportunity to open another location in the Walker House in San Dimas, a beautiful establishment with elaborate décor and style, April of 2015.
There have been many complications, as Felippa splits his time between the two locations, but he has been grateful to the many new opportunities that came with having two locations.
“Any time there is change involved, people are used to a certain way. Once there is change, it rocks the ship a little bit.” Felippa shared. “Every day is a changing process. You can never get comfortable.”
Felippa does not classify his food in a particular style. Rather, he calls it “California Cuisine.”
“Food comes from your personality” explained Felippa.
He always uses the best fresh ingredients. Felippa does not try to set his restaurant apart, but the standards he has for their food unintentionally does.
Felippa is taking it day by day, and his goal is to create the best dish every single time. He hopes to keep the restaurant successful, and doesn’t plan on branching out.
Business has been well, and the staff has been busy catering at parties and weddings. Catering is a major part of the restaurant, and the San Dimas location has had its hands full.
Felippa strives for perfection in not only the food, but also the employees and service they offer to their customers.
“As long as they’re happy, that makes us happy.” Felippa declared.
LucaBella has frequently participated in community events, and has catered for Citrus College and Azusa Pacific University, as well as The Foundation for Glendora Unified Schools.
Stop by at LucaBella Fine Foods and enjoy their delicious lunch menu, including Fire Roasted Jalapeno Chicken and Bistro Steak Salad, while taking a ten percent off discount on lunch this week for mentioning this article through Friday, October14.