La Cuchara is inspired by the food and culture of the Basque region of northern Spain and southern France. Seasonal, simple and ingredient-driven, Basque cuisine is known for its emphasis on quality ingredients from both the land and the sea. La Cuchara’s menu is reprinted daily to reflect the best available top quality seasonal ingredients, allowing guests to have a new and interesting experience during each visit. With its large central bar and wood burning grill, La Cuchara is designed to bring the communal eating and drinking Basque experience to the Baltimore area.
Owned and operated by Ben, Jake and Amy Lefenfeld, the restaurant is housed in the historic Meadow Mill, which at one point was the former home of London Fog raincoat company. It was originally constructed in 1877 then remodeled into a restaurant in 2015. Since its opening, La Cuchara has consistently been rated as one of the top Baltimore restaurants, having been rated in Baltimore's Best Restaurants for both the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Magazine and rated as one of the top restaurants in the country by Opentable, Food & Wine, and Wine Enthusiast.
We hope you join us this evening!
CHEF BEN LEFENFELD
Many trips to the Basque region inspired Chef Lefenfeld to bring the simplicity and distinct flavors of its cuisine to Baltimore. Before creating La Cuchara, Ben spent 15 years rising through the ranks in the mid-atlantic culinary industry. Ben has worked alongside Chef Michel at Tersiguel's in Ellicott City, two-Michelin star Chef Gerard Pangaud at Gerard's Place in Washington D.C., where he eventually became the Chef de Cuisine. In Baltimore, Ben started as a sous chef with Cindy Wolf at Charleston before becoming the Executive Chef of Foreman-Wolf’s Petit Louis Bistro. Lefenfeld opened his first restaurant, Basque-inspired La Cuchara, in a historic mill in the Baltimore neighborhood of Woodberry in April of 2015 with his partners: brother Jake and wife Amy.
After graduating from York College in 2008, Jake Lefenfeld began his bar career at a classic beach bar, Fish Tales in Ocean City, MD, as a bartender and bouncer. Spending his summers in Ocean City and his winters in Baltimore, Jake refined his bar skills pouring drinks at Federal Hill’s Don't Know Tavern and Blue Agave. After agreeing to collaborate with his brother and sister in law, he opened La Cuchara with the couple in 2015.
At La Cuchara, he prides himself on creating seasonal, inventive cocktails that range in flavors and liqueurs. Soon after opening in 2015, his cocktail program won City Paper’s “Best Cocktail” for his Bourbon drink, "The False Idol." And in 2017, The Baltimore Sun awarded Lefenfeld and the restaurant, "Baltimore's Best Bar Program” in their Best of Baltimore issue.
Amy Lefenfeld is CFO and Chief Administrative Officer of restaurants La Cuchara and Minnow. Amy has been instrumental during the infancy of Minnow and La Cuchara restaurants in obtaining financing for startup operations; implementing a concise system for each companies’ financial reporting, obtaining applicable business licensing and established legal entities. Her daily role includes maintaining accounts with over 100 venders, preparing financial statements, executing payroll, as well as selecting, and maintaining an affordable annual health care plan for the companies.
Other responsibilities include human resources curation and working with partners, Ben and Jake, as well as management staff on various marketing and public relations decisions.