It's only been a little more than five months since former Next GM Will Douillet took over as restaurant director at Sixteen, but he's already on the move. Despite being part of the stellar team, including exec chef Thomas Lents and exec pastry chef Patrick Fahy, that just earned four stars from the Tribune, Douillet is heading out to California to work with Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio.
Douillet, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, will move to LA in a couple of weeks to be the GM at Voltaggio's West Hollywood restaurant ink. and serve as director of operations for the company, which also includes the casual sandwich shop, ink.sack.
This move will reunite Douillet and Voltaggio, who worked together at Jose Andres' The Bazaar and became good friends. After they split, Voltaggio went on to shoot Top Chef while Douillet moved to Chicago to first work as a sommelier at Alinea before moving on to Next.
"We worked really well together and became good friends in the process," Douillet said. "[We said] that someday we'd get back together and open some restaurants together." That time is now and Douillet said there are plans to open more restaurants in the future.
Douillet said that despite only being at Sixteen a short time, he said it was a "wonderful learning opportunity" and was "great to work with chef Lents." Looking back at his three years here, Douillet said, "I'm going to miss Chicago and I get emotional when I think about leaving the city."
As for Sixteen, the restaurant is now looking to fill Douillet's role and released the following statement exclusively to Eater: "[Douillet] has been incredibly instrumental in Sixteen's continued evolution and its elevation to four-star status. We are sad to see him go, but wish him the very best in his endeavors, and are enthusiastic about our search for a new restaurant director who will continue to uphold the finest of standards that Will so ably established for Sixteen."
· Rachael Lowe Out at Sixteen as Trump 'Eliminates' Wine Director Position; Next's Will Douillet in as GM [~EChi~]
· Vettel Gives Sixteen Four Stars [~EChi~]