Main content starts here, tab to start navigating
a man standing in front of a table

Christopher Arellanes

Corporate Executive Chef

Chef Christopher Arellanes refined his versatile culinary talents by looking up to his grandmother, Renée McClain, and mastered his craft at top restaurants across the world. Growing up in Chagdud Gonpa Rigdzin Ling, a Buddhist monastery in Junction City, California, his passion for cooking started at a very young age where he admired his grandmother, who was the chef-founder of their community. Following in her footsteps, he learned to give back through bread baking and developing health-centric menus for patients in need, as well as providing nutritional education by reinforcing that food is medicine. It was experiences like these that eventually led him to work at renowned New York City establishments such as Thomas Keller’s three-star Michelin restaurant, Per Se, as well as Eleven Madison Park and The Nomad Hotel. With more than 18 years of training under his belt, the veteran chef has gained noteworthy operations and menu creation experience in restaurants, hotels, and catering settings.

In 2011, Chef Arellanes completed a degree in Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu, where he was classically French trained, and graduated top of his class with the highest honors. This paved the way for him to relocate to New York City and work at Per Se and several other top restaurants, along with some of the top caterers in the nation. His career highlights include, but are not limited to, holding titles at The Nomad Hotel in New York City, John Fraser Restaurants, Michelin-Starred NIX, Eleven Madison Park, Ian Schrager’s groundbreaking EDITION & PUBLIC Hotels, Great Performances Catering, Sunset Beach in the Hamptons, and 15 Kitchen + Bar in Moscow, Russia.

Restaurants under Chef Arellanes’ supervision have received multiple accolades such as earning three and four-star reviews from The New York Times, retaining Michelin Stars, earning the #1 spot in The World's 50 Best Restaurants List, and so much more. His continued success has led him to master plant-based cooking and create sensational menus while working together with local farms and purveyors. His natural ability to create enthusiastic, productive working environments with customer-oriented professionals has also paved the way for him to build a strong record of streamlining operations, improving guest experiences, and preserving the highest levels of quality.

Chef Arellanes’ impressive track record finally led him to KYU Miami in November 2021, where he serves as the corporate executive chef of KYU Restaurants, with KYU New York City slated to open in early 2022. The wood-fired Asian-inspired restaurant remains true to its original Japanese yakiniku wood-fired grilling methods, where Chef Arellanes’ practice falls perfectly in line with the brand’s ethos of quality and sustainability. His role includes elevating the culinary program, planning, and directing a more robust vegetable-forward menu with innovative modifications and new creations, continuing KYU’s mission in sustainable outreach, non-profit partnerships, and, most importantly, ensuring the food is of the highest quality.

Outside of the kitchen, Chef Arellanes is passionate about building staff relations and a company culture that escalates employee morale and promotes high levels of performance. He also enjoys singing karaoke, attending Soul Cycle classes, exercising, and giving back to the community through culinary education and health awareness.

Hometown: Weaverville, CA

Favorite Cuisine: Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese

Favorite Drink: Kombucha, Poppi

"A teacher is only as good as their students wants to be"

Meaning if the student doesn't want to be successful, then the teacher can't teach.