Cristian Canales, born in Brazil and raised in Chile, had a successful career as an electromechanical engineer before he discovered cooking. He visited the original Underbelly restaurant in 2016 (on his birthday!), and was so inspired he decided to make a career change. Cristian enrolled in culinary school in 2016 and approached Chef Chris Shepherd about a job. He’s now worked at nearly every Underbelly Hospitality concept to date. In 2019, he moved to Boston and worked at Little Donkey and Uni under James Beard Award-winning Chef Jamie Bissonnette. He credits his time in Boston to improving his skills in seafood butchering and learning Japanese cooking techniques. He returned to Houston in 2020 and returned to the Underbelly Hospitality family—first as One Fifth sous chef and now as chef de cuisine at Wild Oats.