Meet Our Chef

Founded by visionary entrepreneur and culinary enthusiast, Chef Guy Vaknin, City Roots Hospitality sprang to life in 2012 with a clear mission: to reshape the way people eat and care for their planet. Chef Guy’s journey began with a profound realization that the choices made in the kitchen could extend far beyond just plates and palates.

Guy was raised on a kibbutz in Israel, where he was immersed in agriculture from a young age. He was taught how to cultivate food for the benefit of a community as a whole. Kibbutz means “gathering” in Hebrew, and is where he learned the values of social responsibility, sustainability, and cooperative living.

Chef Guy believes that food is deeply connected to emotion, culture, and memory which is why he set out to create a restaurant group that would raise awareness about the interconnectedness of food and environment.

Under Chef Guy’s leadership, City Roots Hospitality launched its first establishment, “Beyond Sushi”, a standout restaurant showcasing the exquisite flavors that could emerge from the earth’s bounty.

As the success of Beyond Sushi flourished with several locations across New York City, Chef Guy’s vision expanded and blossomed into a multi-restaurant group, each venue distinct yet unified by a shared commitment to sustainability and excellence.

“Willow” a cozy vegan American bistro emerged in the heart of Chelsea, elevating the concept of comfort American cuisine. Gramercy houses “Coletta”, reminiscent of an Italian countryside that reinvents traditional Italian classics with a deep respect for culinary heritage and “Anixi”, a lively Mediterranean brasserie features vibrant flavors from Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. His latest restaurant is “Sentir,” a culinary journey through Mexico.

In 2012, Chef Guy was in the spotlight as a contestant on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen Season 10. He also appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2018 where he made one of the largest deals in the history of the show.