Ten days ago, news broke that Laurent Gras was "taking a break" from L20. Today, it's official: He is out of L20 for good, moving back to New York and working on a new project. He just broke the news on Food & Wine (although we know he's on a flight right now to Chicago for tonight's Michelin party to celebrate the three stars he received yesterday). In the article he says:
“I love L2O and am very proud of everything we achieved there. But [owner] Rich Melman and I have always had different points of view on L2O. In July, we talked about changes he wanted to make, and for me, these changes would alter the character of L2O and ultimately make it a different experience. I let him know then that I would be leaving. It seems sudden, but we worked together these past months to make the transition. For me, the most important thing was to make sure the restaurant stayed open and all my staff remained employed.”
We caught wind of this yesterday and spoke with the Lettuce Entertain You honcho, who when asked if Gras was scouting locations in New York, answered with surprise. "I did not know that. It's news to me," Melman said. "Not news to me if he's in New York. He had told me that—that's where his wife and home base is. It would be a surprise to me if he was scouting locations. As far as I know he's doing nothing, but resting. Can I be 1,000 percent certain? No, but I'm pretty certain he's just resting."
Looks like he's all rested up.
· F&W Exclusive: Why Three-Star Laurent Gras is Leaving L20 [Food & Wine]