Great news, SideDishers! The French Room’s old sous chef, Thomas Gray, is climbing the kitchen ladder. He’ll be taking over Brian Zenner’s old day job as Oak’s chef de cuisine. Does this mean Zenner’s out of a job? Heck no. Zenner’s been splitting his precious time working at Belly & Trumpet and Oak, but this news of his replacement confirms one of two things:
1) Either the Oak owners, Tiffanee and Richard Ellman, want Zenner to focus solely on their Uptown restaurant, Belly & Trumpet, OR
2) Zenner will be working at Belly & Trumpet AND helping out with the opening of PakPao (which means “kite” in Thai), the Oak owners’ new Thai restaurant opening in the Design District next month.
My guess is that Zenner is busily gearing up for PakPao’s opening. A few weeks ago, Tiffanee told me Zenner was born in Thailand and influenced by Asian cooking. It makes sense for him to be heading the PakPao kitchen, then. I’m counting down the days ’til it opens. Exciting things are happening, guys. My fingers are getting tingly just thinking about it.