Like Joe Dobias’s, Ryan Skeen’s Twitter has always been a lively one (for example: “Shocked and disgusted by Jim Lahey[']s behavior, why trash another restaurant because [you] aren[']t happy with Bruni, what[']s this industry coming to?” and “If Ssam & Minetta get 3? How does Corton not get 4, how does Gilt first time around get 2, does anyone ponder the politics of the times”), but lately it has taken a turn for the worrisome. After three months in the kitchen, it sounds like the honeymoon is over at Allen & Delancey. Eleven hours ago Skeen tweeted, “I have always believed that when they take the love out of it [you] have to stop, I just can[']t find the love in my food at A&D anymore, maybe NYC.” And then: “[G]et me the fuck out of NYC I can[']t do it anymore I will always love this city but our industry here has become a fucking [H]ollywood joke!!!!!”
This might just be an overworked chef blowing off steam (who can blame him), but when you factor in Allen & Delancey’s financial woes as well as its troubled history with chefs, you have to wonder. On one level, Skeen has reason to be happy, and Allen & Delancey has reason to be happy with him. Jay Cheshes recently awarded the restaurant four out of five stars and wrote of Skeen, “This rapidly maturing talent—his food here is far and away his most impressive to date—might soon put him in the ranks of the best cooks in New York.” Then again, a Time Out review can’t make or break a restaurant, and Allen & Delancey presumably suffered from losing its publicist a couple of weeks after declaring bankruptcy. A source tells us that Skeen was a motivating factor in an opening-night walkout staged by sous-chefs and dishwashers who weren’t being paid, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that he’s still unhappy about the restaurant’s cash-flow situation.
We’re waiting for his comment, but whatever he does, we hope Skeen doesn’t leave New York. He might be encouraged to know that A&D’s former savory-and-sweet team, Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac, have found success in D.C., but it’d be a loss if Skeen pulled a Neroni and headed back West (his first gig was in Oregon, after all).