Shea Gallante Out at Cru; Philip Guardione In at the New Merkato 55

Shea Gallante
Shea Gallante Photo: NYT

In chef shuffles today: Guest of a Guest points out that Merkato 55 has changed its name to Le 55, and a Brazilian model, Fernanda Mott, is now the face of the operation. An Observer profile of Mott says the new chef, Philip Guardione, was previously at The Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. Don’t worry, the party brunches are staying. And in bigger news, Frank Bruni mourns the fact that Shea Gallante is leaving Cru at the end of the month to take a gig as David Bouley’s corporate chef (something that should put an end to stirrings that Gallante was planning to strike out on his own). Bruni points out that Gallante hasn’t gotten the media attention of a Dave Pasternack or a Michael White though he has been cooking on the same level, and commends the pricey Cru for having adapted to the current economy. Money concerns, Bruni suspects, are part of why Gallante is going.