And yet another change takes place at Blue 13: Paul Taufner, who stepped up as chef de cuisine when exec chef Chris Curren began focusing his attention on Elate (where he also serves as exec chef), is departing to move to Milwaukee. Without missing a beat, the River North restaurant with a rock 'n' roll vibe has tapped Chris Davies (Henri, Branch 27, Seattle's Metropolitan Grill) for the top spot.
Davies, who was introduced to the Blue 13 crew via former Branch 27 chef John Manion, steps in just in time to enact the new spring menu, but will also start adding his own touches as they move into summer. "One of my passions is working with small farms and very seasonal produce," Davies said. "I want to make that a part of what we do here."
Davies, 29, nurtured his rustic side from his experience working alongside Manion and helped get a more refined sense of cooking from Henri's Dirk Flanigan, so he said he brings "a refined, rustic sense of cooking" to Blue 13.
He wants to work with more local farms, especially Gunthorp Farms to start using their Duroc pigs and heritage-breed Barred Rocks chickens. He wants to add charcuterie, terrines and pate. They'll start visiting local markets twice a week to see what excites them. And Davies eventually wants to get whole animals into the kitchen. "I'm still learning [Curren's style] a little but I feel ... my background in Seattle was very farm-to-table and local, which Chris definitely has a passion for," Davies said.
Blue 13 is set to relaunch its rock 'n' roll dinners on June 1. Davies, who got the gig at the restaurant despite not having any tattoos (the crew has plenty), said he definitely wants to plan a rock-themed dinner soon. "I guess I'd have to bring it back to the Northwest a little bit—Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Gits," he said. "They'd be great to do." Looks like he's going to fit in just fine.