Rising Star Chef Andy Arndt is leaving Aquariva. He is moving to the Marriott downtown on January 1st, while the hotel goes through a 6 million dollar renovation. These changes include renovating the lobby, communal areas, four new meeting rooms, and a new restaurant featuring Northwest Cuisine, which will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
While attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chef Andy Arndt had the opportunity to work at one of San Francisco’s best restaurants, Boulevard, with Chef Nancy Oakes, whose mentorship would shape his career. Oakes taught him the importance of focusing on the seasonal ingredients abundant in the Bay area. In 1998, Arndt chose to broaden his culinary horizons and accepted a position at San Francisco’s award-winning Mc2 with Chef Yoshi Kojima. He spent the following two years helping Kojima develop and execute his French-Californian cuisine inflected with subtle Japanese elements.
Eager to expand his repertoire, Arndt left the West Coast for New York City, where he embarked on a series of stages with the city’s leading chefs. His first stop was at Union Pacific where he worked with Chef Rocco Dispirito. The next stop was at March with Chef Wayne Nish. Soon after, Arndt was lured to Gramercy Tavern by Chef Tom Colicchio. There, Arndt spent the next year absorbing Colicchio’s culinary vision and expanding his knowledge of East Coast ingredients. Arndt was then hired as chef de cuisine at Halcyon Restaurant at the Rihga Royal Hotel. While at Halcyon, he managed a kitchen staff of 40. Under his tenure, Halcyon received some of its best critical reviews since its opening. Arndt leapt on the opportunity to stage under iconic chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. He also worked at The Village Pub in Woodside, California, with Chef Mark Sullivan.
At Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, where Arndt was executive chef for four years, he was responsible for the food program at all restaurants and banquets with a large focus on seasonality and farm-to-table mentality. During his tenure, the resort acquired a Five Diamond AAA Rating. Today he lives in Portland as the chef at Italian restaurant Aquariva. And while he took his lessons in seasonal cooking under Oakes to heart, his own Portland-friendly brand of inventive Northwest cuisine is all his own. From comfort-driven dishes like short ribs, to wildly inventive fare like gin and tonic gelée-topped salmon, Arndt’s inventiveness is obvious and continues to astound.