I was off the grid for a couple of days and didn’t learn until late Saturday that chef Najat Kaanache was no longer at Souk. According to Teresa “Gubbshoe” Gubbins, the chef, who refers to herself as the The Pilgrim Chef, has been gone since February 20.
Kaanache came to Dallas to consult with Stephan Pyles on Stampede 66. She left to try and ressusitate Private Social/PS. When PS didn’t work, Kaanache hung in and decided to roll out a menu filled with Awesome Texas Food, an act that did not sit too well with Stephan Pyles. It was around this time she claimed to have invented the cronut. She has the trademarked the word.
Last September, Kaanache joined forces with Yaser Khalaf owner of Baboush and Farnatchi. They launched Souk in Trinity Groves. I thought it was a great fit for her. But obviously something went astray. I reached out to Kaanache, but I haven’t heard back.
The word on the street is Kaanache is a control freak and difficult to work with. I don’t know any of the circumstances first hand and Khalaf isn’t talking. I’m going out on a limb here because it’s a well-known fact that many chefs are control freaks and difficult to work with. The names of a few prominent male chefs in Dallas fit the personality profile. I can’t help but wonder if Kaanache got the boot because she is a woman. I’m just thinking out loud here. Young girls who don’t play nice in the playground are considered bullies. Young boys who don’t play nice are just being boys. It’s worth a conversation.