HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Chef Vallerie Archer stepped inside the iconic Japanese restaurant Yamashiro Hollywood for the first time about 20 years ago.
"My husband took me here on our first date," said Archer.
Now, she is the first female executive chef at Yamashiro -- a title she never saw coming.
"It's very empowering. It feels great, it's a great accomplishment," she said.
Archer went from a stay-at-home mom with a catering company to a pastry chef at Yamashiro in 2019. She was promoted to executive sous chef and quickly climbed up the ranks to become executive chef just before the pandemic hit.
"I've never worked at a restaurant. I've only interned at restaurants and to lead such an iconic restaurant, to be the head chef, is a dream come true," she said.
Born in the Philippines, Archer said she grew up in her grandfather's bakery there. His craft inspired her at a young age. The ginger soy ribs on the menu at Yamashiro is one of his recipes.
"It's a male dominant industry in the first place. And I was very intimidated," said Archer when talking about leading the kitchen staff.
Beyond serving delicious food, Archer plans to put this title to good use.
"I hope that I can serve a purpose as far as mentoring girls, giving them advice," said Archer.
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Iconic restaurant Yamashiro Hollywood hires its first female executive chef