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Andrew Garrett Goes Solo, Moves On From Mama Mia's

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Andrew Garrett, formerly of Cafe Nell (and most recently, for two months anyway, the executive sous chef at Mama Mia Trattoria), has decided to strike out on his own with High Heat Catering Co.

It's a big move for the 30-year-old, who has become somewhat infamous for a particular pair of short shorts (see right) and has worked in the kitchens of Chris Israel, Aaron Barnett, Dolan Lane, Lisa Schroeder as well as on his own at Cafe Nell. Here's what Garrett — who has started his own blog — had to say about his ever-evolving "life as a chef."

Why did you leave Mother's Bistro's sister restaurant, Mama Mia?
Mama Mia's just wasn't the right fit for chef Lisa [Schroeder] and I. She is very driven and has a great business and strong personality, but the timing just wasn't right for us.

What are you up to now?
I decided to take the jump and set off on my own. I have been focusing on writing, and a lot of foraging; I kind of consider myself a pretty good truffle hunter, not to mention all the wild mushroom spots I have found. I've been perfecting recipes and working with local farmers to build relationships and really reading a lot of books, becoming inspired by the chefs who have created our American cuisine.

What is High Heat Catering?
High Heat Catering is my heart and soul. I wanted an outlet for my passion of food and nature and this was the perfect chance for me to bring my love for this region to those folks who share my passion but do not know where to look for the best produce, lamb, elk, duck, pheasant, eggs, pork, wine, local beers and wild mushrooms or fishing holes. This is my chance to physically share my passion with folks.

Can you tell us about your farm to table tours?
My Farm to Table Tours will run from April until late October after the final harvest and we all turn to squash as a staple. We will depart from NW Portland and journey off into Clackamas county or the Willamette Valley, Tillamook County to go fishing or out to the Columbia River Gorge, where we will stop at three farms to pick out produce, eggs, cheese, lamb/pork/elk/beef/duck/chicken. It all depends on the adventure I've set up for that weekend. Once we've toured the farms and picked out literally farm fresh ingredients, we head off to a local winery where the wine maker will take everyone on a tour through the vineyard and winery. Upon the guests' return from the winery tour, my assistant and I will have prepared a family style dinner with the ingredients we picked up at the farms, and we will all sit and enjoy dinner paired with wines in the middle of nature—no distractions, just our sense being treated to the most amazing of adventures.

Do you enjoy being a blogger?
I love writing! It has given me an outlet for the everyday life I have the chance to live as a chef in the Pacific Northwest. I don't think everyday people have the chance to explore as much of the countryside as chefs do. So I wanted to share my experiences with them. It is such a blast to go out and find wild mushrooms/truffles then come home and share it with folks who want to learn more. To go pick up raw cows milk come back and make fresh mozzarella. I mean, who has this kind of life? I do!! And I love everyday of it. Being able to share it with others is what makes it so special to me.
· All Previous Andrew Garrett Coverage [Eater PDX]

Mother's Bistro & Bar

121 Southwest 3rd Avenue, , OR 97204 (503) 464-1122 Visit Website

Mama Mia Trattoria

439 Southwest 2nd Ave., Portland, OR