Rafael Arechiga-Pelayo
Chef-In-Training Alumni

Rafael Arechiga-Pelayo

Generously Sponsored By: Starvin’ Marvin’s BBQ & OUSD
Age, at time of Internship: 17
CIT Intern: 2019
Restaurant Host: Pizzaiolo
Wraparound Program: Oakland Unified High School
Rafael’s Story: Rafael grew up in Oakland with his mother and siblings. Growing up without a father figure meant times were often tight living on a single income, and Rafael started working jobs at an early after school to help his mom pay the bills. The kitchen offered Rafael a safe place outside of his sometimes dangerous neighborhood to grow his budding culinary skills, and explore a longtime passion of his. Once he stepped behind the counter at Pizzaiolo after enrolling in the Chef-In-Training program, Rafael knew almost instantly that cooking was something he wanted to do as a career, and gave his all for each task that the kitchen team put in front of him. This fall Rafael will be returning to high school to finish his senior year and wants to keep working towards his goal of becoming a full-fledged chef and owning his own restaurant.
Future Goals: Rafael wants to own his very own restaurant one day to help feed his community, and continue to support his mom.


The Chef-In-Training program is where I found out I wanted to be a chef, and that’s where my mind spun and I thought ‘This is my interest, this is what I love, this is what I want to do.’”