Normally it's famous deaths that come in threes, but where Chicago's restaurant scene is concerned, shocking news apparently has the same ripple effect. Earlier this week we learned that Rob & Allie Levitt left Mado. Then word came that Spring would shutter after New Year's Eve. Now, possibly the biggest shock: L20 executive chef Laurent Gras is leaving the restaurant, and may or may not return.
When the Diva first broke the news, not much information was released. Then Time Out followed up with more details after speaking with Lettuce Entertain You honcho Rich Melman.
Apparently Gras went to Melman about two and a half months ago saying he needed to leave L20 because of personal reasons. Melman convinced Gras not to leave entirely, but to take a short sabbatical, which he's doing. While we're not sure what the reasons are or whether Gras will return, we do know that the Michelin stars are coming out in less than two weeks and the restaurant will quite likely be on the receiving end of some accolades.
In the interim, nothing should change at L20 as a solid team comprising chef de cuisine Francis Brennan, Doug Psaltis, who is consulting on Paris Club and Jeff Mahin, who Melman describes as a rising star, will run the kitchen.
· Laurent Gras is OUT at L20 [312DD]
· Laurent Gras Taking Time Off From L20 [TOC]
Laurent Gras [Photo: Zagat]