At mar’sel, the signature fine dining restaurant at Terranea Resort, Chef de Cuisine Andrew Vaughan applies French technique to ingredients sourced from on-site gardens and farms as well as local, sustainable purveyors in the surrounding Los Angeles community. Through a California farmers’ market-driven menu, he creates refined “Farm-to-Terranea” dishes that accent seasonality by highlighting natural flavors with minimal manipulation. The chef also uses Terranea’s epicurean events—such as the Celebration of Food and Wine, Chef’s Table Dinner Series, and more—to highlight the property’s sustainability philosophies and local farmer collaborations. “Terranea is a culinary gem in this locale, always ahead of the trends, food-focused, and continuously evolving—we’re a driving culinary force in the region,” he explains. “As chefs here, we have a responsibility to know our farms, so my personal passion for teaching and developing my staff extends to sourcing, beyond just proper techniques and recipes.”
Brought up in Louisiana, Vaughan spent countless hours cooking in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother, and playing in the family gardens with his sister. Those early experiences eventually translated his adolescent knack for creative arts—painting, writing, and photography, specifically—into a culinary trajectory rooted in the philosophy of nurturing others through food. After completing an 18-month culinary training program at Sowela Technical College in New Orleans, Vaughan trekked to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America in 1998. While in school, he gained on-the-job training at Chateau Nouveau, a classical French restaurant in New Orleans from Master Chef Fernando Oca; L’Etoile, chef Odessa Piper’s seasonal, locally sourced eatery in Madison, WI; and Restaurant Daniel in New York City, working alongside renowned chef Daniel Boulud. Following graduation, he settled into the role of sous chef at celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA Restaurant, honing his skills in the acclaimed high-volume kitchen for nearly five years—until Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
With only a backpack stuffed with essentials, Vaughan hopped from the second story of his New Orleans home into a rescue boat skimming the rising floodwaters, and quickly found himself in a shelter deciding where to relocate with his FEMA-provided one-way ticket out of town. California-bound, thanks to a friend who offered a place to stay in Hollywood, Vaughan found work at an L.A. teahouse and then a production catering company. He soon found a more fitting venue for his talents in 2006 at Simon L.A., within the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills hotel, at which he learned all about upscale California cuisine from chef Kerry Simon. In search of international experience, he took a year off from Simon L.A. halfway through his seven-year tenure, to cook in New Zealand.
Joining Terranea Resort in 2013, Vaughan began at Nelson’s restaurant, upgrading its program to use more sustainable seafood and produce. He then started working with the resort’s Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra on corporate banquets, VIP events, and special dinners at mar’sel, including a five-course Wine Library Dinner Series, before earning the chef de cuisine post at mar’sel in 2016. Vaughan made his first appearance at L.A. Food & Wine Festival in 2017 with a Middle Eastern-inspired lamb tartare dish, and has participated in other culinary events, including Los Angeles Magazine Food Event and the Sustainable Seafood Expo.
Outdoorsy and health-conscious, the Pasadena, CA, resident spends his free time hiking, relaxing on the beach, exercising, and practicing yoga. Vaughan also feeds his culinary infatuations by visiting area restaurants and farmers’ markets with his wife.