Chef Chris Starkus of Urban Farmer Steakhouse - Biography

Denver, Colorado

April 2017

Chris Starkus grew up in Santa Clarita, California, enjoying from-scratch family meals made with local produce (and love) by his Italian grandmother and great-grandmother. He jumped into the kitchen at 15 and worked his way up from dishwasher to expeditor. Starkus visited another grandmother in Las Vegas to tour culinary schools while in high school. He enrolled on the spot and relocated to Sin City right after graduation. 

Diploma in his back pocket, Starkus joined the team of Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois, followed by posts at Postrio Las Vegas. Next, he took an apprenticeship under would-be mentor Chef Alexandro Stratta at Renoir in The Mirage. When Stratta opened ALEX at the Wynn, Starkus followed, taking on additional operational roles and mastering whole-animal butchery. ALEX earned a AAA Five Diamond rating and two Michelin stars. In the wake of the restaurant’s success, Stratta opened STRATTA, which Starkus helped design and lead as assistant executive chef. During that time, he studied for and earned his level one certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. 

In 2009, Starkus relocated to Portland, Oregon to work as a private chef. Flexible hours allowed him time to study organic gardening. But the pull of Vegas was strong, and he returned in 2011 to join Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood as chef de cuisine.

Returning to Portland in 2013 to join the flagship Urban Farmer restaurant, Starkus competed on Food Network’s “Chopped,” and studied beekeeping at Oregon State University. His experience and dedication to Sage Restaurant Group led him to Denver in 2017 as the executive chef of Urban Farmer Steakhouse.