Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Video: 'Top Chef' Alum Explains What It Takes To Launch A Culinary Career As A Woman

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

There have been countless news stories highlighting just how few women—only 6.3%, in fact—hold executive chef roles in the U.S. But taking a bird's eye view of the local culinary landscape, there appear to be heaps of immensely talented female chefs breaking the mold, paving the way for a new generation of young women aspiring to pursue a career in the kitchen. We've sought out to showcase their stories through a video series called "Women in Food."

Last week we featured Kuniko Yagi of Hinoki and the Bird, and this week it's Nyesha Arrington, a "Top Chef" alum and L.A. native that's paving her way as an independent local chef/entrepreneur.

Arrington recalls her first memories in the kitchen, where she was tasked with doing a brunoise—or making a perfect small dice—on an giant case of red bell peppers. The task took her entire first shift, and she almost quit, but thankfully she kept at it. Since then she's worked under Michelin-starred chef Josiah Citrin at Melisse, the Jonathan Beach Club, and most recently Wilshire, but most people will recognize her from her appearances on "Top Chef" and "Top Chef Duels."

Between the traditional kitchens and grueling reality TV competitions, it's safe to say that Arrington has mastered the grind. She's enjoying her career as a personal chef and special events caterer, utilizing her world travels to help evolve her eclectic cooking style. Now, she's her own boss, creating unique, internationally-influenced menus for high-end clients, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

Support for LAist comes from

Arrington took some time to shop with us at her local Santa Monica Farmers Market, where she seemingly knows anyone and everyone, and then chatted with us in the kitchen about her experience as a female in the industry as we cooked and made cocktails. (That giant bushel you see is full of fresh chickpeas, which we used in a salad.)

You can hear more about her story and her international approach to cooking in the video below.

Women In Food: Nyesha Arrington of 'Top Chef... by laistvideos