Photo Credit: Alta Med Food Wine
Cherishing the fresh bounty of the sea at Roe Seafood and the distinct flavors of New Mexico at Panxa Cocina, Owner and Executive Chef Arthur Gonzalez brings inspired cuisine to Long Beach, CA, that hinges on sustainably sourced ingredients. “I try not to be a follower—I cook with my gut, a lot of feeling and intuition,” he explains. “I love seeing what my suppliers have every day, and coming up with new dishes utilizing some of the best ingredients in SoCal.” Gonzalez splits his days between the restaurants, updating seasonal menus, evaluating the day’s fish and market hauls, and overseeing kitchen teams. His primary focus, however, remains maintaining relationships with his purveyors and forging culinary frontiers.
Firm, yet fostering, Gonzalez maintains a mentor’s outlook regarding kitchen leadership at both Roe and Panxa. He draws from his own experiences working under acclaimed chefs, and in various environments—from food trucks to fine dining—to remain consistently flexible, always learning, and eager totry new things. “Creativity is key to a great chef; I often dream of dishes, wake up, and write them down,” he says.
A SoCal native, Gonzalez flourished in a multicultural upbringing: “I enjoyed German food from mymother, Oaxacan from my grandmother, and then Korean, Filipino, and more by sharing holiday dinners with my friends.” Though he cooked as a child, he did not identify his passion until becoming a firefighter at18. Taking on the rookie’s role of preparing dinner for the firehouse, he fell in love with cooking, and took that reverence with him after leaving the department following a back injury. He tried out a few different careers until age 26, when dove into the restaurant industry at Spaghettini and Mahé in Seal Beach, CA.
He soon relocated to New Mexico, working for the Hyatt New Mexico under chef Hans Seblin. His time there developed his subtle Asian flair, but he soon tired of the high-volume environment and took off for Santa Fe, landing at Geronimo—one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the city—after befriending James Beard Award-winning chef Eric Distefano. Distefano mentored Gonzalez on French technique, European cuisine, plating, finishing, and more, fine-tuning and elevating his skillset. Gonzalez followed Distefano to Scottsdale, AZ, for a project at Boulders Resort, but soon returned to Santa Fe, where he relished in the farmers markets, Spanish influences, and small-town sensibilities. He continued to work in local boutique resorts and alongside chef John Cox in New Mexico, although he found his way back to SoCal as its restaurant scene heated up, landing at McKenna’s in Long Beach.
Gonzalez and longtime girlfriend Vanessa Auclair, operations manager for Roe and Panxa, debuted Roe Fish Market in 2012, but it closed in 2015. The pair then shifted focus to Panxa Cocina, which opened in 2014 in Belmont Heights. After a couple of successful years at Panxa, Gonzalez regrouped on his Roe concept, and found unwavering support from the community as he launched Roe Seafood in 2016.
The chef resides in Belmont Shores with Auclair and their three Boxers. In his free time, Gonzalez enjoys hiking and overlanding, as well as embracing his community—the beach, the music, and, most importantly, the neighborhood BBQs that bring friends together.