Here's a shocker: Jason Vincent, 2013 Food & Wine best new chef, 2012 Cochon 555 King of Porc and ranter extraordinaire, is resigning from the acclaimed restaurant he's synonymous with. Vincent's last day as the Nightwood executive chef will come on April 17.
Vincent has helmed the restaurant's kitchen since it opened nearly five years ago as a trailblazer for Pilsen dining. It gained Michelin Bib Gourmand awards in 2011 and 2012 under his watch, among other accolades.
Although Vincent says he "he has a couple irons in the fire" he says he based the decision on the upcoming birth of his second child, which he explains in a statement below.
i have good news! my wife is starting to feel really uncomfortable and she doesn't fit into any of her clothes! sorry, i guess that's not really the good news.... the good news is that our second daughter is due on june 11!! there, that's more like it.
i also have bad news...and, believe me, there are a lot of emotions that come with a decision like this one. emotions that i didn't know i was capable of (don't forget, i'm a chef, and we're all assholes). after five incredibly fulfilling years, i'm stepping aside as the chef at nightwood. part of me is sad, part of me is happy, another part (the part that i didn't know i had) is grounded. nightwood is going to continue on the same course even after i'm gone, and i'm more than ok with that. it's not about the cog, it's about the wheel...and the wheel is still perfectly round. the whole machine works.
for me, the immediate involves changing a lot of diapers and watching the indians win the world series (we'll see which hand gets full first, amirite?!)
as for the people that came through the back door, all of the employees, purveyors, farmers, family, i consider every one of you my friends and i'm looking forward to knowing you for a very, very long time and working with you again.
to the people that came through the front door, the customers, the family...i'm glad you did, do it again...they will take care of you.
see you soon.
Meanwhile, Nightwood owners Jason Hammel, Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner will fill Vincent's large shoes with his sous chef Shae Daher. Daher has also worked in the Nightwood kitchen since it opened.
The restaurant has also submitted a statement thanking Vincent and saying in part that "under chef Daher, the team will continue on its mission to build a great neighborhood restaurant in Pilsen, with carefully sourced ingredients, old school technique, and a focus on simple, thoughtful fare."
The statement also says that "no additional staff is leaving" and that there are no conceptual changes in the works.
Catch Vincent at Nightwood for about two more weeks (and in Austin on April 21) and see how Daher does following Vincent's departure.
· All Jason Vincent Coverage [-ECHI-]
· All Nightwood Coverage [-ECHI-]
· Nightwood [Official Site]