Chef Focus: Andy Arndt of Aquariva

Chef Arnie Arndt

Aquariva Italian Kitchen, Portland’s preeminent riverfront restaurant is the newest kitchen for Executive Chef Andy Arndt. Chef Andy brings over 20 years of experience cooking in some of the country’s most acclaimed restaurants.  Intrigued by the Pacific Northwest food scene, Andy settled into his position as Executive Chef at Aquariva Restaurant in Portland last year. At Aquariva, Chef Andy has created an Italian-inspired menu using the finest, hand-selected Northwest ingredients. The restaurant’s concept is to let each guest sample the chef’s cuisine by offering many of the menu items in a small or large portion in a variety of relaxed settings including the bar, dining room, or patio. Pairing options are vast, with a wine list focused on the fine wines of the Pacific Northwest, especially the neighboring Willamette Valley region, as well as Italian options. Pastry Chef Sarah House, formally of Urban Farmer in Portland, creates artistic desserts for a grand finale.

From the start of his career, while attending the California Culinary Academy, he had the opportunity to work at one of San Francisco’s best restaurants, Boulevard, with acclaimed chef, Nancy Oakes. Chef Oakes taught Andy the importance of focusing on superb seasonal ingredients abundant in and around the Bay Area throughout the several years he worked there.

In 1998, Andy chose to broaden his culinary horizons when he accepted a position at San Francisco’s award-winning restaurant, Mc2, with Chef Yoshi Kojima. The following two years were spent helping Chef Yoshi develop and execute his French-California Cuisine with subtle Japanese elements.

Eager to learn from the best chefs of New York City, Andy embarked on a series of stagieres with the city’s leading chefs. At Union Pacific he worked with Chef Rocco Dispirito. The next stop was at March with Chef Wayne Nish. Soon after, Andy was lured to Gramercy Tavern by the award-winning Chef Tom Colicchio. There, Andy spent the next year absorbing Chef Colicchio’s culinary vision and expanding his knowledge of superb seasonal ingredients and innovative preparation.

Andy was then recruited to become Chef de Cuisine at the acclaimed Halcyon restaurant at the RIHGA Royal Hotel in New York, and during his tenure the Halcyon received some of the best critical reviews since its opening.

Chef Andy has also cooked at The French Laundry in Napa with Chef Thomas Keller and The Village Pub in Woodside, California where he worked with Chef Mark Sullivan.

His most recent post was as Executive Chef at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa for the past four years, a 300-room resort and spa with four freestanding restaurants in Ojai, California. He played a pivotal role in the acquisition of the resort’s AAA Five Diamond Award. With focus on the region’s terroir and sustainable cuisine, his menu reflected the bounty of local farmers, ranchers, and fisherman.

About Aquariva

Aquariva Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar is located just a few minutes south of downtown Portland on the banks of the Willamette River adjacent to the Avalon Hotel & Spa. With easygoing elegance and relaxed sophistication, Aquariva serves delectable Italian-influenced meals created by Executive Chef Andy Arndt. In the summer, enjoy outdoor riverside patio dining. Year-round, private parties can be hosted in the bar, terrace, restaurant, and private dining rooms, or the upstairs river view private banquet facilities. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday –Friday from 11:00am–2:30pm, and dinner Monday–Sunday from 5:00pm–10:30pm. Happy Hour is served everyday from 4–6:30pm.

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