Phenomenal Women

Published on December 19th, 2011 | by thevyne

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Woman to Watch: Nyesha Arrington

Hometown: Born in Southern California and currently living in Los Angeles, CA (Panorama City)

Occupation: Executive Chef, Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica, CA

Education: Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA

Family Life: Nyesha comes from a multi-cultural family consisting of African American and Korean decent. Her Korean grandmother is credited with influencing Nyesha’s early interest in food at the age of four. Nyesha recalls eating her grandmother’s homemade kimchi and helping make filling for homemade won tons along with her sister. While Nyesha has always enjoyed food, the first career she had her eyes set on was to be a sculptor. Nyesha’s father and sister are both musicians.

Destined for Food: When asked in a recent interview “When did you decide you were going to be a chef?” Nyesha shared this:
”My parents wanted me to go a very professional route, being a doctor maybe. I’m sort of an artsy type. Literally it hit me like a ton of bricks one day: I’m going to culinary school. My parents weren’t extremely excited about the idea. But they’re pretty happy now.”

Culinary Career Path: Nyesha has worked with several industry-renowned chefs and has honed her skills and expertise under their tutelage. She worked with her mentor, Josiah Citrin, at Mélisse in Santa Monica. Her resume also includes work with legendary French chef Joël Robuchon at his Michelin and Mobil award-winning Las Vegas restaurants, L’Atelier and The Mansion. Nyesha is known for using fresh, seasonal products. She considers several important factors in creating her menu, including the weather, what’s in season, and the availability of locally-grown food.

Small Screen Debut: Shortly before appearing as a contender on Top Chef: Texas this season, Nyesha was first spotted on Food Network’s new show, Chef Hunter. In this debut, Nyesha did cooking battle with a fellow chef in order to acquire her current position as executive chef at the popular Santa Monica restaurant, Wilshire.

Hobbies: When she’s not cooking, Nyesha enjoys being outdoors surfing and snowboarding. Art also continues to be a passion of hers.

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