Michael White on His Departed Pastry Chef: “He Was a Jerk.”Restaurant Girl reported pastry chef Tim Butler’s departure from Alto and L’Impero yesterday, not long after chef Michael White found out himself. “He just told me on Friday and only told Restaurant Girl to stick it to me,” White says. The two had sparred over what White calls Butler’s refusal to use Italian ingredients and flavors in his desserts. “I asked him over and over again — use a little hazelnut or some Gianduja chocolate — but he totally refused. Then he told me he wasn’t coming in anymore. I’m the easiest guy to work for in the world! But this guy really was a jerk.” Chef de cuisine Kevin Sippel is also leaving White but had given notice several months ago for family reasons. White expects to name a new pastry chef soon — we’ll let you know when he does.
Creative Differences at L’Impero and Alto [Restaurant Girl]
Nish, Felled by Its Own Best Efforts
Sometimes you can’t win for losing. Take Nish: After years of making hay as high-end tablecloth restaurant March, last year Wayne Nish rechristened it Nish and lowered prices. The result? According to Joe Salice, Nish’s partner in the venture, that was the beginning of the end: “What with the location and the price point being lower, we no longer became a destination. And as a ‘just grab a bite to eat’ place, there’s only so much we can get from the local people.” And that wasn’t nearly enough. “We looked at the numbers for the last month, and we were working just to pay the payroll and the vendors … so we had to make a decision.” The decision was to pull the plug. And even though it was a long time coming, the closure still came as a shock, with longtime customers scratching their heads and the staff in disarray. “No restaurant closes gracefully,” Nish tells us.
Earlier: A Double Blow for Wayne Nish: First Varietal, Now Nish Closes