Nyesha Arrington has a knack for televised cooking competitions. She earned her job as executive chef at Wilshire Restaurant two years ago through the Food Network’s show with Anne Burrell called Chef Wanted. And about the same time she appeared on Bravo Channel’s Top Chef.
It’s her consistency and leadership, however, at one of the Westside’s premier restaurants that make Chef Nyesha a force in French cuisine that’s here to stay.
“In my heart of hearts I feel like an old French man,” says the Gardena-native. “I’m not a tyrant in the kitchen but I’m very driven. It’s important for me to hone the careers of these young kids coming up.”
Nyesha, meanwhile, has had a near-meteoric rise in the restaurant business having grown up experimenting in the kitchen with her Korean grandmother and whatever she could pick up from watching Julia Childs. As an adult she attended the Art Institute of California before working under renowned chefs Joel Robuchon, who was named France’s Chef of the Century and for two years under Chef Josiah Citron at Melisse. She also ran the kitchen at Cache on Main Street before spending a year in the Virgin Islands.
“I really feel that I was put on this world to be a chef,” she says. “I love with every bit of my soul what I do.”
Nyesha describes the cuisine at Wilshire Restaurant as “French technique with a sort of California wash over it.”
On a recent afternoon, she showed off the pan roasted half Jidori chicken with charred brusell sprouts, cipollini onions and roasted tomatoes served with a sweet pea soup that’s blended with virgin olive oil and garnished with wild mushrooms and pea tendril ragu. And for dessert is the sticky toffee pudding with dates from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.
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Wilshire Restaurant 2454 Wilshire Blvd Santa Monica, CA 310.586.1707
On the menu:
pan roasted half jidori chicken
market vegetables, sweet garlic jus $25
sticky toffee pudding
crème fraiche ice cream $10