Chef Shuffle

Jeremy Fox, and Possibly His Staff, Are Leaving Ubuntu [Updated]


Acclaimed chef Jeremy Fox and his full staff have allegedly decided to leave Napa’s Ubuntu for as yet undisclosed reasons. (Owner Sandy Lawrence for her part says the staff remains “intact.”) The Chron’s Inside Scoop broke the big chef shuffle news in an “Alert” yesterday, unable to wait to report the full story.

Deanie Fox, Jeremy’s wife and the restaurant’s pastry chef, already resigned last month.

Fox has received massive acclaim for his haute vegetarian cuisine, including a Michelin star, a rave from Frank Bruni, and being named in 2008 one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs and a Chron Rising Star Chef.

The Chron speculates that the decision came about because of inconsistent crowds in downtown Napa, where it’s definitely low season right about now. But Fox has sounded discontent for a while, having said just in December that his decision to host informal chef’s dinners on Tuesday nights was about “getting back a piece of himself” after a year of sudden fame and too many demands on his time. “I made a huge life-changing decision to be happy,” he said, implying that for much of last year he was not.

Perhaps Fox is also interested in breaking out of the vegetarian mold set by the restaurant-cum-yoga studio — has written before that the philosophy of the restaurant was “not one of shunning meat.” We’ll update you as the story unfolds.

Update: The Chron’s Inside Scoop wasn’t able to get anything further after all besides the fact that perhaps some of the staff has been convinced to stay. Owner Sandy Lawrence sounds pissed, but she’ll be issuing a press release about Fox’s replacement shortly. Fox remains silent, but promises some info via Twitter soon.

Chef Departure Roils Ubuntu
Earlier: Restaurants Turn Table on Conventional Dining [Chron]
Two Survive. Now, to Choose. [Bruni/NYT]

Jeremy Fox, and Possibly His Staff, Are Leaving Ubuntu [Updated]