Growing up in Cypress Park, a largely Latino neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles, Ray Garcia didn’t realize how diverse his native city was. “My whole experience was just being surrounded by people who spoke Spanish,” he recalls. “It wasn’t until college that I met Asian, Indian, Caucasian, and all kinds of people. It was an eye-opening experience.” When he landed a job at a highly acclaimed restaurant in Beverly Hills, he relished the opportunity to learn about Mediterranean food and European fine dining. Later, at the helm of another restaurant in Santa Monica, he delved into seasonal California cuisine. Armed with a wide-ranging culinary knowledge, Garcia eventually returned to his roots, opening B.S. Taqueria (now closed) and Broken Spanish, a restaurant that took the L.A. dining scene by storm with its progressive Mexican menu.