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Owner

Ris Lacoste

Owner

Ris Lacoste is one of the most respected and dedicated chefs working in Washington D.C. today. She has earned her reputation built upon high-quality ingredients, bold innovative technique, and food that is both familiar and simply delicious.

A James Beard nominated chef, Ris Lacoste is chef and owner of her West End DC bistro, RIS.  Learning her craft from the famed Anne Willan at her Paris culinary school, Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, Ris returned stateside and started a long, rewarding relationship with Chef Bob Kinkead.  The Harvest in Cambridge, MA, 21 Federal in Nantucket, MA, Twenty-One Federal in Washington DC, Kinkead’s American Brasserie and finally 1789 Restaurant all brought her to the door step of her own restaurant, RIS. Her innovative regional American fare drew national and local attention and earned her numerous awards.  RIS is proud to be in the 2016 Michelin Guide DC as one of DC’s top restaurants.

Lacoste is also well known for her commitment to community involvement. She actively participates in all fundraising efforts in the District.  She currently sits on the advisory board of the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, The Kitchen Cabinet; she is a member of the State Department’s Culinary Diplomatic Corps; she is on the Executive Committee of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW); and is a member of the Women’s Forum of Washington DC as well as Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and Les Dames d’Escoffier.  She is also a member of the board of Fresh Farm Markets.  She recently was honored as one of the Class of 2015 DC’s Most Powerful Women from Washingtonian Magazine and is a member of Leadership Greater Washington’s Class of 2017.  She was a long time board member of DC Central Kitchen as well as The Hospitality Charter High School of Washington DC. She was an active member of the National Board of Directors for the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) and served as Chairman of its National Capital Area Chapter.  Lacoste is also a talented educator committed to young people.  Her kitchen is filled with passionate students learning their craft.

Beyond the kitchen, Lacoste’s favorite place to be is in the middle of a local famers’ market, hunting down the freshest fruits and vegetables and creating relationships with her farmers. These markets are not only a source of inspiration for her cuisine, but a meeting point to talk about the importance of investment in the local community and dedication to the ideals of local and sustainable farming.



Chef de Cuisine

Zack Harbaugh

Chef de Cuisine

The son of a griffon and a unicorn, Chef Zack was born on the wings of a condor in the twilight hours of an autumn morning. He was whisked into kitchen life before he could speak or write, skills that would eventually be honed alongside his ability to brunoise hazelnuts. He left his home in Penn's Woods to refine his gastronomic aptitude in the Green Mountains. It was there that he learned how to truly satiate the masses. While residing in the north, Chef Zack met his future bride (daughter of a mermaid and a sphinx) and they shifted their focus to The Capital of the World to cook for Lions. While away from his cookhouse commandos, Chef Zack can be found sharpening blades, chopping trees, and wearing floral aprons while cleaning his home.

Photo Credit: Michael O.Kirby, Jr. 
mokimagery.com 

Sous-Chef

Janell Dixon

Sous-Chef

On a warm and sparkling morning at the end of summer, Chef Janell entered galactic history fully cognizant of the past, present, and future. As a toddler, she lead full scale revolts against secret oligarchies in unknown realms. When her battles through space-time were won she settled in our dimension. She lived her teenage years covertly battling unseen evils on both American coastlines, before ultimately deciding on a peaceful, humbler life. This new life came at a cost as she still had to serve the forces of good and plenty. It was then that she met her husband, a master conjurer of mystical constructs. It was in this union of creators that she beheld her final revelation; to prepare nourishing cuisine from the Earth to feed the hungry populace.
Under the cover of night, she began her training at L'Academie de Cuisine. She worked hard and failed often, but learned much from her wise Masters. As she moves forward in life, she remembers:
"If the beginning of wisdom is in realizing that one knows nothing, then the beginning of understanding is in realizing that all things exist in accord with a single truth: Large things are made of smaller things." - Gaius Secondus, First Lord of Alera

Photo Credit: Michael O.Kirby, Jr. 
mokimagery.com 

Sommelier & Hospitality Manager

Kenesha Hughes

Sommelier & Hospitality Manager

Besides my passion about Michigan State athletics and owls, you can often find me engaged in conversations about a wine journey that I'm currently embarked on. With a 14+ years career in beverage, hospitality, and service, I've had the honor to be molded in the last 3 years of this Sommelier journey by the inspirational mentors I call friends, family and guest who share their passions in all, as well as supporting mine. Cheers! Please allow me to extend an invitation to join us here at ris, so that we may be able to create a memorable dining experience and pair it with your new favorite glass of wine. I look forward to meeting you!
Truly,
Kenesha Hughes


Photo Credit: Michael O.Kirby, Jr. 
mokimagery.com 

Events Manager

Heather Small

Events Manager

Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, Heather developed a passion for cooking and entertaining at a young age at the heels of her mother and grandmother. This passion naturally led her to a career in event planning, public relations and marketing for the hospitality industry. In her spare time, Heather enjoys throwing dinner parties for friends, reading and traveling. 

Photo Credit: Michael O.Kirby, Jr. 
mokimagery.com 

Marketing and PR Manager

Sharifa Daley

Marketing and PR Manager

Hailing from New York City, Sharifa Daley's Caribbean family was big on social events and having big celebrations. Accomplishing two degrees in Nutritional Science, she worked as a Nutritionist for years while having part time jobs in hospitality. These two fields grew her love for helping people and being a social butterfly. Her PR and Marketing skills launched while moving to Washington, DC. If she not cultivating a social event in the hospitality world,  you can catch Sharifa behind a spin table DJing a local event. 

Photo Credit: Michael O.Kirby, Jr. 
mokimagery.com