2018 Talent

Andrew Rodriguez

Executive Chef, Little Octopus

Andrew Rodriguez’s venture into cooking was a very organic process. His culinary career began in his home surrounded by family and taught by his Puerto Rican grandfather, a well-respected chef and owner of three restaurants in Spanish Harlem in the 1960s. To solidify his career path, Rodriguez attended ICE, and at the prompting of his teachers, went knocking door to door until he found his place at Avoce Madison where he worked under Chef Missy Robbins, who became his mentor.

“She taught me standards and that this profession was only for the strong,” Rodriguez says. “The staff in that kitchen are still some of my best friends to this day and have all become successful. The moment I knew this was my path was the night when we opened the Columbus Circle location of Avoce. That night, after we had all worked an obscene amount hours, we celebrated and there was no feeling more gratifying.”

As a member of the opening team for Avoce Columbus Circle, the restaurant was awarded a prestigious Michelin star during his tenure with the group. When Rodriguez left New York City, he landed his first executive chef position at the HoHoKus Inn & Tavern in New Jersey, where he remained for four years.

Interested in a new challenge in an emerging market, Rodriguez relocated to Nashville in early 2015, joining legendary Chef Jonathan Waxman as executive chef at Adele’s, Waxman’s seasonally-inspired Southern concept. Rodriguez later moved to Pinewood Social to perpetuate the highly successful menus that have made it a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

In his latest career move, Sarah and Brad Gavigan of POP NASHVILLE are very proud to welcome Rodriguez to Little Octopus. Here, Rodriguez will draw from his heritage, training, and love of fresh, clean, and vibrant food to create the continuance of what started in 2015 as an East Nashville pop-up, to what is now a staple to the Nashville restaurant scene.