When Christine Larroucau was young, she loved the way her mother prepared for houseguests, the attention she paid to the china that was to be used and the special flan that was to be made. She loved going to restaurants, too, and if her friends were going out for dinner, she was usually the one who made the plans. Still, a career in restaurant hospitality did not occur to her; instead, when she thought about her future, she thought she might be a cartoonist, or maybe a professional field hockey player. Then one day, during her sophomore year at the University of Southern California, she discovered a third option.
Larroucau, who was born in Miami and raised in Houston, majored in business at USC. During one of her classes, a Hillstone Restaurant Group representative was a guest speaker. The idea that she could help conceptualize and pull together the myriad of components required to create a restaurant appealed to her. “It occurred to me, ‘Oh, there’s a career path there,’” Larroucau says. “Once I really thought of restaurants as a career, I became obsessed a little bit.”
That obsession led to an internship with Hillstone and, other than brief foray into food PR, Larroucau’s career trajectory has been in restaurants ever since. When she was all of 22, she was hired as the floor manager at Osteria Mozza, which one imagines is not unlike learning how to drive during rush hour on the 405. After a year, she left the Osteria to take some time off, eventually returning to the Mozzaplex as general manager at the Pizzeria.
And now Larroucau is leading the front of house team as the general manager at Majordomo, David Chang’s first Los Angeles restaurant. To say she is busy is a massive understatement: Majordomo opened in January with the sort of anticipation and excitement otherwise reserved for a Phoebe Waller-Bridge series; reservations are often booked 30 days in advance, and locals and tourists line up before the restaurant opens, hoping to score walk-in seats at the bar. In addition to handling the crush of reservation requests, Larroucau oversees most aspects of the guest experience at Majordomo, from the patio heat lamps (each of which she personally assembled) to the way your server affably guides you through the menu, suggesting you might, just might, want to have the chickpeas with your bing tonight.
“It was so important to us that this is a restaurant for Los Angeles,” she says. “We want people to be totally comfortable here. We want them to have a good time. At the end of the day, that’s what matters, and it’s going to make the food part of it that much more enjoyable.”
A little more than six months in, Larroucau is focused on how the restaurant will grow and move forward. “We don’t want to be like, ‘Okay, we opened,’ and that’s it,” she says.
“We’re going to continue to change and evolve more. And we have to make sure we’re doing it right.”