That time off he was planning to take to spend time with his family after selling Fritz Pastry? It's not lasting long since former Fritz owner Nate Meads was just named as the pastry chef for the forthcoming RM Champagne Salon from the Element Collective team (Old Town Social, Nellcôte) and will start working with the group on Jan. 16.
Meads will bring his acclaimed pastry skills to the West Loop Champagne lounge, which will sit adjacent to but still be separate from Nellcôte. He'll focus on creating scratch-made chocolates, pastries, macarons and other classic pastries. "We did some tastings and the guys (management, chefs) they were ? it was a comfortable fit," Meads said. "I hope they felt the same way about me."
Apparently that feeling is mutual because Element Collective partner and exec chef Jared Van Camp said he was floored by Meads' work. "We were talking to a myriad of pastry chefs for the position, and not only did Nate's personality fit the general attitude of our group, but his tasting absolutely blew us away," he said in a release. "Everything he put in front of us was the best we've ever tasted. His madeleines, the best. His soufflé, unbelievable, and so on."
As for the final menu, Meads said things are still under development. "I did a tasting of things I thought would work, but a lot of new ideas are coming along. It's still pretty raw." He did add that he's working on a caramel apple ... a one-bite caramel apple. Sounds pretty interesting.
But will Meads also do the desserts at neighboring Nellcôte? From what we know, there won't be an official pastry program at Nellcôte, but Meads will consult on some desserts as the restaurants will share a kitchen despite being two separate businesses. One way there will be crossover? Each check at Nellcôte will be presented with one of Meads' madeleines.
So while Meads won't get to spend as much time with his family as he may have hoped, he is looking forward to getting back into the kitchen. "I am overly excited. I miss that atmosphere and that type of kitchen," Meads said. "A bakery is a different thing. There's no service when it comes to a bakery. When it comes to service time, there's a good feeling."
Look for both RM and Nellcôte, which is hosting a sold-out sneak peek dinner on Feb. 9 for WBEZ rock 'n' roll talk show Sound Opinions, to open sometime in late February or early March.
· Wormhole Owners Buys Fritz Pastry, Enhancements Coming [~EChi~]
· RM Champagne Salon to Open in February Behind Nellcôte [~EChi~]