Thomas Keller’s temporary Yountville restaurant that just never went away, Ad Hoc, is seeing a changing of the guard in February. Dave Cruz, who’s been heading the kitchen since the place opened seven years ago, is moving on and planning to open his own restaurant, as the Chron reports. His replacement will be Katie Hagan-Whelchel who’s been there since last summer and was previously at Bouchon Beverly Hills. She says she plans to keep the comfort food core of the menu and “expand upon it.” Cruz’s plans will likely keep him in Napa (he hasn’t found a piece of real estate yet), and he’ll continue doing casual, family-style fare with “his own take” on the genre.
Meanwhile, over at Poggio in Sausalito, longtime chef Peter McNee is taking his leave after seven years as well, and he’s also plotting his own restaurant, in San Francisco. Local restaurant mogul Larry Mindel has lined up his replacement, who will be sous chef Ben Balesteri, who spent some time in New York as a sous chef helping open Jonathan Benno’s Lincoln. Balestri will take over the kitchen on February 3.