The Latest Chef Changes

Source: The Austin Chronicle

If the city’s restaurants had kitchen family trees, they would be all jumbled up just about now. In the past few months, multiple restaurants have brought on new chefs, promoted old ones, and left a lot of us wondering how we are supposed to keep track of which chefs are where. Bear with us, as we try to make sense of all the switcheroos.

New Waterloo hospitality and management group announced that Casey Wilcox will be taking over as executive chef at Central Standard, the American bar and grill located within South Congress Hotel.

A well-respected fixture in the city’s culinary scene since 2006, Wilcox previously worked in the Uchi kitchen and as executive chef at Justine’s Brasserie and Second Bar + Kitchen. Most recently, he helped open Kuneho, Paul Qui’s Japanese kitchen and sushi bar early this year.

South Congress Hotel’s sister hotel, Hotel Ella, has promoted Nick Nelson, who joined the hotel’s kitchen in 2013 and previously worked at Roaring Fork, to executive chef at the hotel’s Goodall’s Kitchen. Nelson recently created his first menu for the bistro, which includes redfish ceviche, vegetable frittata, and chicken salad tartine.

Drink.Well and Backbeat also have a new executive chef. Justin Bumbalough, who formerly worked at Hillside Farmacy and Launderette, will serve as the executive chef at the two sister bars.

Chef David Bull’s Second Bar + Kitchen has undergone a mouthful of changes in the last few weeks. Peter Botcher, a former co-owner and executive chef at James Beard-nominated Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis, has been named the new executive chef at Second Bar + Kitchen’s Downtown location.

The Domain Northside location promoted longtime employee Michelle Arcilla Hall to executive pastry chef and Bull’s protégé, Monica Senclair, to executive sous chef. In addition, Brian Felicella, who formerly served as the executive chef at the Dallas Museum of Art, is now the Domain Northside location’s chef de cuisine.

Sophia’s Italian supper club hired Caleb Higginson, former sous chef at Central Standard, to serve as the restaurant’s chef de cuisine in May. Higginson is guiding the restaurant in a new direction while executive chef Mark Sparacino is back and forth between Sophia’s and his restaurant in Chicago.

Geraldine’s contemporary restaurant, located on the fourth floor of the Hotel Van Zandt, recently brought on Yolanda Diaz as head pastry chef. Diaz has worked at restaurants around the globe and most recently served as the pastry chef at Isla and Péché.

Since the closure of Downtown bar Isla, Julio-Cesar Flórez has moved to Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen on South Congress, to work with executive chef Jay Huang on Nikkei, Japanese-Peruvian fusion fare.