He has been recognized numerous times by the Southern California Restaurant Writers for the excellence of the cuisine at the Hotel Laguna, which Andersen has owned since 1985. He is a founder of the Laguna Beach Hospitality Assn. that morphed into the Visitors and Conference Bureau, which draws thousands of tourists annually to Laguna.
But it isn’t his foresight or his cooking skills that have endeared him to Lagunans.
“Over the years, Claes has been generous in providing venues for fundraisers for many of our civic organizations,” Quilter said.
His community involvement includes the Laguna Playhouse, SchoolPower, Laguna Art Museum, Pageant of the Masters and the Laguna College of Art & Design.
“The fire of 1993 when 366 families lost their homes still sears memories here,” Quilter said. “Many will never forget his gallant gesture in opening the doors of the Hotel Laguna to those who lost homes, even as his own home was being destroyed, along with precious family heirlooms.