As the Senior Executive Chef at Levy Restaurants – Allegiant Stadium, the home stadium of the Las Vegas Raiders, Sean Kinoshita combines a culinary philosophy centered around locally sourced ingredients and precise cooking techniques with a leadership approach grounded in effective training and unwavering enthusiasm. With his wealth of culinary expertise and passionate influence, Chef Kinoshita brings a profound impact to the dining experience within the stadium.
Born on Oahu and raised on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Chef Kinoshita developed a passion for cooking as a teenager and charted a course to turn that passion into a profession. Because his culinary passion is rooted both in technique and local flavor, his studies took him to culinary schools in Hilo, St. Paul, and San Francisco, where he graduated from the prestigious California Culinary Academy with an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts. He also spent his early years training with renowned chefs in New York (Gray Kunz at Lespinasse and David Burke at Park Avenue Café) and San Francisco (Ken Oringer and Ming Tsai at Mandarin Oriental) prior to returning to the islands to perfect his sushi preparation and culinary management skills.
After opening three restaurants for A Pacific Café and embarking on other ventures in the hospitality industry, Chef Kinoshita became Chef/Partner at Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, which became so popular in the islands that they opened a second location in Oahu and invited Chef Kinoshita to become their Corporate Chef.
With a newly minted interest in culinary management and a natural affinity for leadership, Chef Kinoshita left Sansei to guide the strategic operations and culinary direction of larger-scale operations in the hospitality and entertainment industry. He served as Casino Executive Chef with Caesar’s Entertainment, heading locations in California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. As Executive Chef and Chef de Cuisine for Tao Asian Bistro, he managed operations for an F&B operation serving nearly 90K sq ft of event and meeting space. In this role, he created the restaurant’s signature BAO bun which earned critical and popular acclaim.
Chef Kinoshita brings a wealth of experience to his role, having dedicated the past three years to serving Allegiant Stadium. Prior to that, he made a significant impact with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he successfully managed a team of over 200 employees and five chefs. Chef Kinoshita’s exceptional skills in the art of sushi have earned him recognition, leading him to serve as the personal sushi chef for the owners of Delaware North and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Moreover, he played a pivotal role in establishing and overseeing the organization’s sushi program, ensuring the use of the highest quality ingredients, particularly locally sourced fish. Alongside managing culinary operations, Chef Kinoshita efficiently handled various day-to-day responsibilities within the organization.
Throughout his career, Chef Kinoshita has been recognized for his culinary expertise and mentoring/organization strengths. He has served as Host Chef for the Kapalua Food and Wine Symposium, Atlantic Food and Wine Festival, Uncork’d by Bon Appetit Las Vegas, and Beverly Hills Food and Wine Festival. He also served as a Guest Chef at the James Beard House in NYC, as well as Las Vegas Food and Wine Festival and Las Vegas Events Life is Beautiful and Project Dinner Table. In Hawai’i, he served as Guest Chef for Cuisine of the Sun and Master of Food and Wine Event, as well as winning the Hale Aina Award Winner in Honolulu. Finally, at Taste and Tour of the Countryside, he won Best Culinary Presentation and has received numerous mentions in both Eater.com and Zagat.com.
Chef Kinoshita is passionate about food – the taste, the technique, and the tradition. He is excited to bring his expertise, experience, and enthusiasm to Levy Restaurants.
Learn More About Chef Sean Kinoshita
1. When did you realize you wanted to become a chef?
At the age of 16, my mother enlightened me with the realization that living at home indefinitely wasn’t a viable option. She urged me to contemplate my future career path. Coincidentally, during that period, PBS aired a captivating TV series called “Great Chefs,” which featured culinary experts hailing from various corners of the United States and beyond. This mesmerizing show ignited a passion within me and inspired me to embark on a journey in the realm of Culinary Arts.
2. What are your culinary education background and experiences?
I embarked on my career journey by initially enrolling at a nearby college in Hilo, Hawaii. Afterward, I transferred my credits to Minnesota and pursued my education at a Technical Institute, successfully earning my degree.
Following my graduation, I sought further professional development by enrolling at the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. While attending school, I had the opportunity to work at the renowned Cypress Club, honored as the “Best New Restaurant in San Francisco (1990).”
Upon completing my culinary education, I ventured to New York City, where I had the privilege of working alongside accomplished chefs such as Gray Kunz at Lespinasse and David Burke at Park Ave Cafe. Seeking new horizons, I eventually returned to San Francisco to join the culinary teams led by esteemed figures like Ken Oringer, a James Beard Award winner, and Ming Tsai, renowned for his appearances on the TV Food Network.
3. How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy (seafood related)?
My philosophy is grounded in quality and seasonality. Keep it simple and elegant.
4. What is the most important thing you look for when purchasing seafood i.e. consistency, quality, local, etc.? Why?
The most important for purchasing seafood is quality. At the stadium, we do a lot of private events and Football Games. 90% of our private events are custom menus. Since we are in Las Vegas at an NFL stadium we have minimums for renting our our event space. This affords us the ability to factor in the cost of quality ingredients.
5. What are some of your favorite seafood items on your current menu? Why?
We create new menus for every new season. And our banquet menu is basic. Which is why we do 90% custom menus. So with every menu, we can work with the season.
6. We’d love to know more about your favorite seafood. What do you enjoy cooking at home and professionally?
I personally like live crabs. Especially live king crab. I cook it at home when I can find some. Professionally, we cook whatever is in season. Allows for teaching staff how to work with different seafood at its peak quality. We previously purchased 350# of stone crabs from you for every game.
7. What do you like about Santa Monica Seafood’s product and service?
Working with a supplier who can cater to my specific needs is of utmost importance to me. Whether it’s related to pricing or responsiveness, I value a supplier who can promptly address my requirements. In the past, I have decided to switch suppliers due to their slow response times. However, this is not the case with Santa Monica Seafood and my Sales Representative, Todd White. Todd consistently goes above and beyond to fulfill my requests, striving to make them a reality within his capabilities. I greatly appreciate his dedication and commitment to ensuring a smooth working relationship.
3333 Al Davis Way
Las Vegas, Nevada 89118-3141