Chef Bio

Hailing from the East Coast, Etta’s Chef Benny Arocho Jr. originally studied fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating with a bachelor’s in photography, he found himself managing a small café on Long Island. It is there he discovered a love of food and the craftsmanship behind it.

Fueled by his culinary passion, Benny enrolled at the French Culinary Institute where he trained in classic French techniques. His first position was at Chef Brad Farmerie’s Michelin-starred restaurant in NYC, Public, where Benny was introduced to the unique flavors of Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Exposure to an exotic array of ingredients, culinary techniques, and international chefs had an immeasurable impact on his development. It is here that he honed his cooking skills and his culinary education took a great leap forward.

Further in his career, Benny had the opportunity to briefly work at Chef Brad’s South East Asian-influenced restaurant, Double Crown, and Jean-Georges’ farm-to-table opus, ABC Kitchen. Work at these amazing kitchens came to an end in 2010, when he realized his long-time dream to move West after exploring Seattle on foot for three days. Here he fell in love with the local geography and cuisine then set out to study both.

At the W Hotel’s Earth & Ocean he had his first introduction to Pacific NW cuisine and the opportunity to work under both Seattle Chef Adam Stevenson and Hawaiian Chef Ryan Loo. After a couple of rewarding years at the hotel, he enrolled in the local community college full time to study geology while simultaneously cooking at Tom Douglas’ famed Seattle seafood restaurant, Etta’s. Here at the north end of the Pike Place Market, under the tutelage of Chefs Adrienne Chamberlain, Sam Burkhart, and Andrew Rivera, Benny had the opportunity to further explore the unique bounty of the Pacific Northwest through the lens of each of their talents.

As the Chef of Etta’s, Benny brings the global influences that were integral to his training to your table. He draws inspiration from the environment, the cultural diversity of the region and the Pike Place Market, while sourcing some of the most coveted ingredients foraged, found, and grown in the oceans, forests, and farms surrounding Seattle.

When not in the kitchen or immersed in books, Benny can be found exploring the world on foot and bicycle. He loves getting involved in outdoor activities and is a member of the Cascade Bicycle Club, Puget Sound Mycological Society, and Washington Trails Association.