At 20 years old, Tori Arzt was making her way through Italy, where she was studying painting, when she happened upon a tiny, hidden alpine village only accessible by cable car. The art school student noticed a change, not only in the mountain hamlet’s temperature and scenery compared to the valley below, but also in its culture and cuisine. She dined on mushroom ravioli made with gorgonzola and walnuts. It was one of many dishes she enjoyed during her time in Italy that influenced her desire to learn more about the cuisine.
“That was the first time food really made an impression on me,” Arzt says. “The difference in the quality of the produce there, and the way things were prepared, was astounding.”
Even so, it would be many years before Arzt recreated that memorable dish as executive chef of Glorietta. After college graduation, she began a successful career in visual merchandising and even designed windows for Macy’s—including the store’s famous Christmas window display—before losing inspiration, quitting, and taking a job at a friend’s Vespa shop in New York City. Thankfully, the shop was across the street from the French Culinary Institute. During breaks, she noticed chefs in tall white hats from across the alleyway, and began to contemplate a new career path.
Arzt was already cooking in her free time, having grown up making traditional Jewish recipes like matzo ball soup and bone broth—before it was trendy—with her grandmother. When her grandmother passed away, she began cooking more and more as a way to keep her family recipes alive.
“If the next generation doesn’t remember what the dish tastes like or what it’s supposed to look like, then that recipe isn’t going to mean anything,” she says.
To this day, Arzt is inspired by traditional methods. She has built an impressive resume since graduating from the French Culinary Institute 10 years ago, working under Iron Chef’s David Burke, French Laundry’s Thomas Keller, and Anthony Bourdain’s Italian friend Cesare Casella. She has trained as a butcher, can make her own charcuterie and sausage, and has even spent time on a farm and harvested her own animals. “I love old ways of doing things,” she says.
For example, to create Glorietta’s mushroom, gorgonzola, and walnut fettuccini, Arzt makes a mushroom stock out of stems from the garnish. She then uses this stock to boil the pasta, a traditional method that both infuses the dish with added mushroom flavor and cuts down on waste.
Arzt brings a unique regionality to the entire menu that drawson memories of e ating her way through Italy as a college student. Specials like the pillowy, cheese-filled gnudi dumplings will transport diners to the Italian countryside where dinner is cooked all day and infused with hundreds of years of culture. Other standout menu items include mezze maniche rigate baked with elk bolognese, braised lamb shank with apricot and pistachio risotto, and warm, hearty farro salad with brussels sprouts and toasted chickpeas.
In fact, Glorietta’s entire menu seems to perfectly combine the alpine character of northern Italy with Jackson’s Old West atmosphere. Arzt says, “I like things that are rustic, and I want my food to match its environment.”