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Rising Stars: Lijo George and Max Boonthanakit, chefs of Camphor in Los Angeles, make ‘kind of French’ food with Indian spices

In an alternate reality where France and India shared a border, this might be the food that evolved


Lijo George and Max Boonthanakit are the co-executive chefs of Camphor in Los Angeles, which was awarded a Michelin star in December.

The two young chefs – George is 33 in Boonthanakit is 30 — just opened the restaurant in March of last year, after having met in Bangkok, Thailand, at Blue by Alain Ducasse restaurant, where Boonthanakit was executive pastry chef and George was executive sous chef, working under executive chef Wilfred Hocquet.

During lockdown the two stayed with a cousin of Boonthanakit’s in Thailand, until the pair got an offer to move to Los Angeles, to open Camphor in the space previously occupied by Nightshade restaurant, where Boonthanakit was chef de cuisine.

Boonthanakit was born in Atlanta and moved to Los Angeles during high school, and George is from Kerela state in India. The two use George’s connections to import spices from Kerela, providing flavors that aren’t available elsewhere in LA.

They recently discussed their approach to Camphor’s food.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

TAGS: Chefs
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