Originally from Mexico City, Chef Andres grew up in Puerto Vallarta. He began cooking as a child with his mother and grandmother. By the time Andres turned 14, his mother knew he would become a professional chef because of his interest in her traditional recipes which he prepared in what became known as his “very first kitchen.”
The Mendoza family moved to Orlando when Andres was 20 and he began working as a dishwasher for Marriott. He fell in love with the kitchen atmosphere and began studying the chefs. Shortly afterwards, he began preparing food in several kitchens around Orlando. His craving for knowledge led him to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
During this time, Andres was recommended to Chef Phillip Ponticelli of ‘Citricos’ at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort where he started immediately. ‘Citricos’ was a great experience for Chef Andres as it introduced him to the fine dining atmosphere.
Andres was then offered a position as Chef-de-Partie at NORMAN’S. Feeling an immediate connection with Chef Norman Van Aken’s cuisine, his passion was reignited. The use of ingredients native to his home reminded Andres of his beloved culture. In his own words, “as soon as I walked into NORMAN’S kitchen, the smell made me feel so welcome. I knew I was home.” He immersed himself in the New World Cuisine and was honored with the Executive Chef position in 2013.
Since then, Chef Mendoza has participated in a number of gastronomic events. He was deeply honored to directly assist Chef Van Aken where the two men represented the state of Florida as the sole Chef presenters of our state at ‘The 2015 World’s Fair in Milan’ in conjunction with The James Beard American Restaurant. He also accompanied and assisted Chef Van Aken in New York City last year at the James Beard Foundation’s event ‘celebrating Chef Charlie Trotter and the New American Cuisine’.
He annually participates in the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and teaches corporate and private cooking classes at “NORMAN’S”. His philosophy is to use the very best ingredients from all over the world while focusing always on Florida’s rich ethnic diversity and natural bounty. His “Chef’s Tasting Menus” allow him to offer our guests the full range of dining experiences. Please inquire if you or your group would like more information on this.