King of His Craft
At the age of 9, while most boys were being taught how to swing a baseball bat, Chris Simons was learning how to properly hold a butcher’s knife. “Being really young with something potentially dangerous, it was almost like a feeling of responsibility and adulthood, and I always appreciated and respected that lesson,” says Simons, who heads the kitchen at Andrea at The Resort at Pelican Hill®, an award-winning restaurant known for its classic Northern Italian creations.
Simons, who previously held the post of sous chef at Andrea, was promoted to the role of chef de cuisine in November of 2018. It’s a title he feels honored to hold, and he’s sharing his expertise in cutting-edge culinary techniques, as well as his deep knowledge of herbs, spices and high-end ingredients such as veal cheeks, monkfish liver and venison with restaurant staff. “It’s what keeps everything interesting and forward-thinking,” he notes.
This spring, he’s crafting a menu that spotlights seasonal ingredients from local farmers’ markets, including ones in Newport Beach and Irvine. There’s one dish, though, that guests can find year-round: the restaurant’s signature risotto, made with arborio rice, forest mushrooms and seasonal truffles, and finished tableside in a wheel of barrel-aged Parmesan cheese.