— Team —
— Native is Angeleno —
Progressive California Cuisine Celebrating the Multicultural Landscape of Los Angeles.
Chef Nyesha J. Arrington has been in love with the kitchen since she was just a little girl, cooking from the age of five alongside her Korean grandmother, Ai-Soon Lee. Born in Los Angeles to a multi-cultural family, Arrington was early introduced to diverse foods such as bulgogi, octopus, and homemade kimchi. These first stages of culinary experiences definitively shaped Arrington's palate development and her ideas in cooking. By integrating flavors and techniques from around the world, Arrington has been able to create a style that is both personal and unparalleled.
A graduate of the Culinary School at the Art Institute of California in Los Angeles in 2001, Arrington's pivotal career step led her in the direction of the one person that would change her life Josiah Citrin, Chef/Owner of the acclaimed 2 Michelin Star Mélisse restaurant in Santa Monica. Citrin perceived the raw talent in Nyesha and quickly moved her up the ranks to saucier at Mélisse and later asked her to help open two of his other restaurants in Santa Monica.
Arrington's 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. Arrington is celebrated for her advocacy of using farm fresh, locally, and responsibly sourced ingredients. She has spent nearly every Wednesday of her last 17 years as a chef at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, just steps away from Native.
Arrington is member of a highly artistic family; both her father and sister have passion for music. Her father, John Edward Arrington plays bass; sister Janet Lee Arrington excels on drums. Her mother, Sophia Yvonne Arrington, uses her creativity as a seamstress. Before pursuing her culinary career, Arrington aspired to learn everything relating to art. She took on sculpting, watercolor, pointillism, and photography classes, developing her use of color, texture and composition, ultimately reflected in her approach to cooking. "Every plate is like a canvas," says Arrington. "Chefs must be able to control brain function like no other, including everything from organizing from their prep, to assessing the menu and knowing their audience. I love the process."
During Arrington's time as Executive Chef at Wilshire restaurant in Santa Monica, she was named a Rising Star Chef by Brad Johnson of Angeleno Magazine. In 2011, Nyesha appeared simultaneously on two reality-cooking shows as a contestant -- Top Chef and Food Network's series, Chef Hunter, where she won the competition. In 2012, Nyesha was recognized by Zagat as one of the 30 best Chefs under 30 in Los Angeles. She was also profiled in the LA Weekly's People issue as one of the most 69 interesting people to watch in 2012.
When she's not creating culinary masterpieces, Nyesha delights in spending time outdoors and is an avid snowboarder, loves hanging on the beach, and continues to love art. Her greatest enthusiasm will always be cooking food for others that “hugs their soul.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Julian’s journey in the restaurant industry did not start until he was in his twenties and decided to make a passion into a career.
Julian moved to New York City in 2012 to attend the French Culinary Institute in SoHo. Within the first month of school, he secured an internship with The Cannibal Beer & Butcher and its sister restaurant, Resto. There, he began butchering three days a week, and learning the ins and outs of the kitchen. Upon graduation, Julian moved to the front of house, where he was quickly promoted to Beer Director and AGM, maintaining a bottle list of 400+ beers from around the world. His employment with The Cannibal brought Julian back to Los Angeles, where he helped to reopen The Rose Café in Venice, as well as The Cannibal in Culver City, where he was the Manager and Beer Director. He joins the Native team now as General Manager.
Raised in the San Fernando Valley, Alexander Granados grew up with an appreciation for great food and hard work with a chef father and a working mother. His upbringing led him to participating in C-CAP (Careers Through Culinary Arts Program) during his senior year in high school, where he competed and won the highest scholarship in his class, taking him to the New England Culinary Institute.
From there, he went on to work for many different kitchens and chefs including Kerry Simon (Simon LA), the Sofitel Hotel, Andre Guerrero (Max, Maximiliano and The Oinkster) and Kevan Lee (My World on a Plate, Dining in the Sky LA). Since 2010, he has been part of Chef Brendan Collins' Waterloo and City, where they have been voted "Top Ten New Restaurants" by LA Magazine and made it to the semifinals for the James Beard "Best New Restaurant WEST."
Thanks to his tireless work ethic, Alex was offered the opportunity to open several of Collins’s restaurants in West Hollywood and West Los Angeles. In late 2015, he left to work for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, at Bouchon Beverly Hills. In 2017, he became the Executive Chef for Tower 12 in Hermosa Beach, developing the menu with his mentor and consulting chef, Brendon Collins.
Chef Alex loves leading a team and guiding his cooks to success. He is always motivating and inspiring others in the kitchen, and is a vital part of Native.
Joanne's restaurant career began in 2012, when she moved to Australia to pursue her dream of becoming a Chef. She had never cooked professionally or lived outside of California before then. After a year of scraping by in an unfamiliar country and getting a feel for working in different types of kitchens, Joanne returned to Los Angeles and began working at Andrew Kirschner's Tar & Roses, and she later formed part of the opening team at Santa Monica Yacht Club.
She left Los Angeles again to spend six months on the island of Stonington, Maine, a fishing town that supplies much of the country’s best seafood, working at the restaurant Aragosta, digging in the mud for clams, and cleaning, cooking, and serving so.. many.. lobsters. After returning from Maine, she started at Bouchon Beverly Hills, where she not only learned how to cook first hand from world-renowned Chef Thomas Keller but also how to lead, mentor, and stay humble as a chef.
When Joanne heard that Chef Nyesha was opening a restaurant in the same space where she had previously worked, she immediately saw and took the opportunity to play a leading role in helping to bring Chef’s exciting and vibrant style of cooking to that same corner of 7th and Santa Monica that she’d grown to love. In her free time, you might find Joanne laughing too loud, smiling too big, and making her life a masterpiece.
A Los Angeles native, Adam started serving and bartending while attending Cal State Fullerton for Philosophy. He developed his passion while working at now defunct Bin 8945; bartending and cellar keeping all while apprenticing in the kitchen. His love for all things food and booze drove him to explore every aspect of the industry. Free time was dedicated to learning about wine, liquor and beer; and any travels revolved around where and what to eat. He spent four years at Bouchon Beverly Hills; first behind the bar at Bar Bouchon, elevating it to a new level and then in management. After that he spent some time in operations and consulting for a small LA restaurant group, he then went on to do the opening bar program at Spring. After Spring, he found himself at the New York import The Cannibal Beer & Butcher, where he was the General Manager. Adam now finds himself back behind the bar at Native doing what he loves most.
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Clarity landed in Los Angeles in 2012 after travelling the Western US to learn about urban farming and sustainable local food systems. She was offered a job as a host at the former Circa MB and began her involvement with the Zislis group in Manhattan Beach. Within months she was promoted to a management position, truly sparking her passion for the hospitality industry. Clarity has had the honor and pleasure of working in some incredible restaurants in Los Angeles. In 2015 Clarity worked as a manager at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach. She was part of the management team who reopened the Rose Cafe in Venice in 2015. In 2017, she went back to Manhattan Beach to work alongside Chef David LeFevre as the Assistant General Manager at The Arthur J. Clarity is very happy to be back on the west side again, working with an incredible team here at Native.
Native Santa Monica is a celebration of local farmers and produce
Farmers we love
Weiser Family Farms
Coleman Family Farms
Website + Photos by Jake Ahles Creative