It’s certainly a sellers market for chefs. The recent boom in new restaurants seems to be stretching the talent pool rather thin. High-profile chefs such as Matt McCallister and Tim Byres have posted hip “help wanted” notices on their Facebook pages (Hi, Iris!). If they’re looking for quality talent, imagine the problems smaller, out-of-the-white-spotlight restaurants are facing right now. In the last three days we have reported the exits of Ian Tate (Salum, Komali), Kelly Hightower (Wild Salsa), and Najat Kaanache (Souk). Yesterday, Mike Hiller adds Guillermo “Gmo” Tristan, the respected sous chef at Boulevardier, has jumped to FT33. Bam! McCallister bags a trophy.
Update: Matt McCallister says his current sous chef Misti Norris is leaving FT33 to open a new place in the OC.
Update: One restaurateur who chooses to remain nameless sends this report: “Not enough, executive chefs. There are plenty of chefs who can write a menu and soak up some press. They can even make good to great dishes. But they can’t keep their food cost or labor below 40%, their staff from walking out, or their arms free of track marks or sober on a Saturday night.” Well, that’s some interesting insight.
Sure is exciting to see so many new restaurants, but if this chef migration doesn’t slow down, I’m going to have to start ear tagging them to track their movement.