Ariana and Andres Fernandez met at COCC more than a decade ago, where they were attending culinary school. Both come from families where food and cooking were a centering force. In fact, Ariana's family is still very involved in the business, with her dad, a chiropractor, managing the wine selection, and her mom working the front of the house.
"It is very much a family affair," laughs Ariana.
Andres is from Colombia and Ariana comes from an Italian family; those influences are evident on the food.
Early this year, the couple was invited to cook for the James Beard Foundation, an unprecedented honor for Bend chefs. The request came about as a surprise to Ariana. After a customer who had returned for a second visit finished his meal, he walked over and handed Ariana a business card. He was a board member for the James Beard Foundation. It was a simple and unceremonious invitation, but a big deal—something like a talent scout walking up on the street and asking you to play the leading role in a Hollywood film.
"It is a great honor, and it is really nerve wracking," says Ariana.
The restaurant's menu showcases both its talent and the talent of Pacific Northwest resources: Fresh Pacific Ocean and Columbia River fish, black trumpet mushrooms from the mountains and regional wines from Dundee to Walla Walla.