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New Year's Eve at Arroz
Join us for New Year’s Eve, with an optional Tasting Menu and delicious special dishes.
Arroz, Spanish for rice, is Mike Isabella’s take on the contemporary flavors of Southern Spain and Morocco. Each element of the experience — from food and drink to design and architecture — speaks to the intersection of these cultures.
Michael Rafidi is the executive chef of Requin in District Wharf and Arroz in the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., both concepts from award-winning restaurateur Mike Isabella. Chef Rafidi creatively updates classic French cuisine at Requin, and similarly takes a contemporary look at the foods of Southern Spain and Morocco at Arroz.
Prior to joining Mike Isabella Concepts, Chef Rafidi served as executive chef at Michael Mina’s wine-centric French restaurant RN74 in San Francisco. His work for the Mina Group included a role as corporate executive sous chef, in which he supported global culinary management of the group’s almost 30 properties, as well as serving as an opening team member at Wit & Wisdom, a tavern in Baltimore.
Chef Rafidi, who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and is a graduate of Pennsylvania Culinary Institute’s Le Cordon Bleu program, has spent time at other celebrated East Coast restaurants, including Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, D.C., Talula’s Garden and The Mildred, both in Philadelphia. He also staged at chef René Redzepi’s internationally acclaimed Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, an experience that fostered his appreciation for foraging and other culinary techniques from around the world.
Mike Isabella is a Washington, D.C.-based chef and restaurateur, honored in 2016 by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington as Restaurateur of the Year. In 2011, Isabella opened Graffiato to critical acclaim. Isabella now has more than a dozen restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with additional outposts in Nationals Park and Ronald Reagan National Airport. His newest and largest project is a food emporium in Fairfax, Virginia. Isabella Eatery is an unprecedented nine-concept dining experience spanning 41,000 square feet in Tysons Galleria, a luxury retail outlet in Northern Virginia.
In 2012, Isabella was named FOOD & WINE magazine’s The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic. Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian is his first cookbook, also published in 2012.
Outside the kitchen, Isabella was a judge on “Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown” on FYI. Previously, he competed on Season Six of Top Chef, and Top Chef Duels, and he was the runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars. He was also a member of the American Chef Corps, a network of chefs from across the United States who serve as culinary diplomats and resources to the Department of State.
Before opening Graffiato, Isabella was the executive chef of José Andrés’ Zaytinya. During his three-year tenure, Isabella generated accolades and national attention for Washington, D.C.’s Mediterranean powerhouse restaurant.
Before settling in D.C., Isabella moved to Atlanta and found his culinary niche when he joined Buckhead Life Group’s top-notch Greek restaurant, Kyma. As chef de cuisine of the seafood-inspired menu, Isabella learned the flavors and techniques of Greek cooking.
Isabella’s formal training began at The Restaurant School in New York, taking classes and cooking his way through some of New York City’s finest establishments. Later, he traveled down the coast to Philadelphia, first as a sous chef for James Beard award winner Douglas Rodriguez at Alma de Cuba, then a host of other Stephen Starr restaurants. At El Vez, Isabella learned the true craft of Latin cuisine under the direction of Jose Garces, and as executive sous chef of Marcus Samuelsson’s Washington Square, where Isabella educated himself on the art of opening a fine dining establishment.