Chef Charles Arena of Charleston Harbor Fish House - Biography

Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

November 2013

New York native Charles Arena learned to love food at an early age when Sunday dinners meant spending hours with family and enjoying his grandmother’s labor-of-love cooking. He started working in restaurants at 14 and made his official commitment to the industry by graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1998.

From there he worked in prestigious New York City kitchens, including Jean Jacques Rachou’s La Côte Basque. Arena then moved to Charleston, South Carolina, for a sous chef position at Tides at the Beach, a Tom Colicchio project, where he quickly formed strong relationships with local farmers and fisherman and began to participate in the Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Arena found a home in the South and in Charleston, and for the last seven years, he has worked at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina and its Fish House, where he now serves as executive chef.

Arena has continued to support sustainability in sourcing, buying the vast majority of the Fish House’s produce in Charleston. Also profoundly important to Arena, is the passing on culinary tradition and training. He teaches at the Culinary Institute of Charleston and has earned accreditation from the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator.