September 28, 2021


Chef Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi’s South Coast Plaza restaurant presented with recognition of culinary excellence

COSTA MESA, Calif. (September 28, 2021) – The MICHELIN Guide today announced that Knife Pleat, helmed by chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, has earned a Michelin Star. Located at South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse, Knife Pleat has been presenting modern interpretations of classic French cuisine since July 2019.

The husband-and-wife team is regarded as a powerful force in Southern California’s culinary scene, having earned a Bib Gourmand by the MICHELIN Guide at former Los Angeles-based French restaurant, Church & State. Chef Tony Esnault has previously earned a combined five Michelin stars as executive chef at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and Adour at the St. Regis in New York City.

“We’re overjoyed to be recognized by Michelin, the ultimate standard of excellence in dining.  Being part of the global community of restaurants held to the same exacting standards is an honor,” says Sarmadi. “We thank our team who’ve played an essential role in earning this distinction, and South Coast Plaza, for providing the impeccable environment in which we’ve been able to thrive.”

Esnault’s modern approach to classical French cuisine is seen in Knife Pleat’s elegant menu, replete with dishes utilizing local, seasonal and organic produce from the farmer’s market at the height of their season, as well as sustainable seafood and animal products sourced only from farms with 100% humane and organic practices. Knife Pleat’s weekly six-course Tasting Dinners with wine pairings have become a coveted experience, allowing guests to enjoy a carefully curated culinary journey led by Esnault. The final course of the tasting menu is created by Pastry Chef Germain Biotteau, who has been an important part of Esnault and Sarmadi’s team for several years.

“South Coast Plaza is elated that Knife Pleat has been recognized with a Michelin star, the ultimate designation of culinary excellence,” says Debra Gunn Downing, Executive Director of Marketing for South Coast Plaza. “Chef Tony Esnault, restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi and their wonderful team have created an exceptional Southern California dining destination.”

Knife Pleat occupies a dramatic 5,000-square-foot space in the Penthouse of the world-renowned South Coast Plaza. The restaurant features an elegant, airy dining room wrapped with floor-to-ceiling translucent windows and a plein air patio accented with greenery. The bar provides views of the exhibition kitchen where Esnault can be observed in action. The refined architecture and interiors by Johnson Fain – in collaboration with Sarmadi and Esnault – is decidedly understated, with a high fashion aesthetic and a soft palette.

Knife Pleat is an elegant and approachable French restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, who are well known in the Los Angeles culinary scene. The couple’s chic restaurant showcases modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French cuisine by Esnault, one of California’s best French chefs. Information: or call 714.266.3388.

Renowned as a leading international shopping destination, South Coast Plaza is home to more than 250 prominent boutiques, critically acclaimed restaurants and the adjacent celebrated Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Orange County Museum of Art. It is the West Coast’s premier shopping experience, with its proximity to beaches and John Wayne Airport, customized concierge services, and unparalleled collection of diverse retailers — from Gucci, Hermès, Cartier and Harry Winston to Saint Laurent, The Webster, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and more. South Coast Plaza is located in Orange County, California, in the city of Costa Mesa. Information: or 800.782.8888.


Mona Shah
Moxxe PR
T: 818.749.1931

Debra Gunn Downing
Executive Director, Marketing
T: 714.435.2021