When Grub Street ate at A16 Saturday, we unknowingly saw Nate Appleman working one of his last shifts. At dinner a chef friend from Minneapolis said, “He’s got two restaurants, won a million awards, opening another one in Japan, and still works the line on a Saturday night? That’s pretty bad-ass.” Today, the Chron broke the news that the 30-year-old James Beard award winner and Chronicle and Food and Wine Rising Star Chef is leaving his post as executive chef at A16 and SPQR, to pursue other things. “The timing just seemed right,” Appleman told the Chron. “I’m still young and want to explore what’s out there.”
At A16, chef de cuisine Liza Shaw will move up to executive chef, while the staff at SPQR will remain more or less the same. Christopher Behr will stay on as chef de cuisine and Hugh Thornton as executive sous chef, the Chron reported.
In an interview with Grub Street earlier this week, Appleman said he was interested in promoting the simple food he’s become famous for, such as meatballs and offal. “Do I want to be hugely famous? Absolutely not. But I want to keep spreading the word about what we’re doing. It’s not only about food. It’s the way we treat our employees. I want to keep those same things intact as we grow. I don’t want to grow too big to the point where we can’t do that.”
Previously: Nate Appleman on Meatballs, Foam, and Why San Francisco Isn’t New York [Grub Street]