Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Chef Lincoln Carson has assembled a mighty crew at Bon Temps to help bring the good times. Meet some of them below:

Bon Temps Samantha Azarow General Manager

Samantha Azarow, General Manager
Sam Azarow is the general manager at Bon Temps, chef Lincoln Carson’s all-day restaurant in LA’s burgeoning Arts District. Azarow’s passion for the hospitality industry began early on at the University of Denver after fortuitously stumbling upon a wine textbook that inspired her to pursue a degree in hospitality management. In 2010, Azarow began her career at Wolfgang Puck Catering in San Diego where she held various leadership roles over the course of five years, ultimately assuming the position of national beverage director in Los Angeles. Azarow journeyed back to her alma mater city of Denver in 2015 to become the general manager and beverage director of Black Eye & White Lies before moving to Portland, OR to oversee the formidable portfolio for Sage Restaurant Group. At Bon Temps, Sam works together with chef Lincoln Carson and the front of house team to create a lively, memorable dining experience from morning until night, always upholding a standard of excellence. When not at Bon Temps, Sam enjoys running in DTLA, hiking the canyons, eating, hot yoga, and exploring up and down the West coast.

Michael Lay, Beverage Director 
Michael Lay is the beverage director at Bon Temps, Lincoln Carson’s all-day dining destination rooted in French foundation and a California sensibility, located in LA’s Arts District neighborhood. Lay began his near decade-long career in food & beverage in 2011, consulting on Coast Luxury Management cocktail programs for restaurants such as Restaurant 1833 in the Bay Area and Faith & Flower in LA, where he crafted Esquire’s 2013 Cocktail of the Year. He then joined chef Ray Garcia to open Broken Spanish in downtown Los Angeles, where he oversaw the cocktail programs for the restaurant as well as B.S. Taqueria. In 2017, Lay opened Lono Hollywood as the general manager, where he oversaw the tropical-inspired menus and implemented his classic approach to the tiki cocktails. Prior to joining the Bon Temps team, he opened Hotel Figueroa as the director of beverage, overseeing menu development for all five bars throughout the property while overseeing staff training and purchasing. A Zagat 30 Under 30 winner and SF Chronicle “Top Bar Star,” Lay infuses the spirit of French drinking culture throughout the Bon Temps bar program, offering an array of seasonally driven aperitifs, digestifs and cocktails that complement the dining experience. 

Krystal Kleeman, Wine Director 
Krystal Kleeman is the wine director at Bon Temps, Lincoln Carson’s all-day dining destination rooted in French foundation and California’s seasonal bounty, located in LA’s Arts District neighborhood. Originally from Oceanside, California, Kleeman moved to Los Angeles in 2010. Kleeman got her start in the hospitality industry as a server and helped open Fundamental LA in 2011. There, she grew her wine knowledge by working closely with the wine director and subsequently moved up the restaurant ladder to become the dinner manager and sommelier. After spending five years at Fundamental LA, she opened Stanley’s Wet Goods in Culver City as their wine director. At Stanley’s, she expanded her knowledge in developing and maintaining wine programs for both retail and wine bars before seeking out a return to the restaurant world. Following her time at Stanley’s, a desire to transition back to restaurants led Kleeman to The Hearth & Hound where she assumed the role of wine director three months into its opening. Now at Bon Temps, Kleeman emphasizes sustainably focused, small-production wines that are expressive and thoughtfully produced and intends to strike a compelling balance between classic expression of varietals and unexpected, contemporary wines.