Chef Kyle Connaughton of Chipotle Mexican Grill - Biography

New York, NY

July 2012

When Kyle Connaughton decided at 9 that he wanted to be a chef, it was after eating sushi for the first time, one of the most potent food memories of his life. During high school he worked at a small family restaurant, later attending what would become Le Cordon Bleu. After that he worked at Spago Beverly Hills and the The Ritz-Carlton’s pastry department. But he was soon lured back to school, taking a day job as chef instructor at the then Southern California School of Culinary Arts; at night he worked at Lucques and Campanile. That memory of sushi still fueled him, though, and he then decided to attend California Sushi Academy and received private instruction from Master Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda, who took Connaughton on a junket to Japan.

All those connections and Connaughton’s budding Japanese linguistics afforded him a position at Michel Bras’ second restaurant in Hokkaido, which also gave Connaughton the opportunity to stage at several of the restaurants in the same luxury hotel, learning the arts of kaiseki and soba in addition to his beloved sushi. The love affair with Japan was broken up with a tryst in England, though, when he took a position as head chef of research and development at The Fat Duck, overseeing a team of food scientists and chefs. Connaughton’s development work most recently led him to join the research chef team at Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle