Liebrandt Previews New Restaurant at Autism BenefitLast Night’s “Autism Speaks to Wall Street” gala at Capitale was a power scene, all right; any event where tables cost up to $100,000 and Bob Wright is there making small talk has clearly left the foodies behind. Which is a shame, because the level of the food was magnificent. The gala’s format called for chefs who had been previously “bought” at auction to cook a dinner right there at the table: Thus, Eric Ripert cooked at an oven right next to Wylie Dufresne, Michael Psilakis next to Larry Forgione, who was next to Chris Lee of Gilt, and so on. The tables were close enough to allow tasting and trading, had anyone been interested in doing so (it didn’t look like they were). Maybe Darrell Hammond’s painfully unfunny routine at the evening’s start put off their appetites. Or maybe it was just all the deal-making.
George Mendes Holds Down the Wallsé Fort Until Help ArrivesHaving heard and read reports on Eater that the chefs at both of Kurt Gutenbrunner’s restaurants had quit, we were on the trail of something juicy. Apparently, it isn’t to be had. Gutenbrunner tells us that there are perfectly good explanations for the simultaneous departure of Mattias Froeschl from Wallsé and Martin Pirker from Blaue Gans. “I see it as a positive,” the chef says. “People need experience, and now they will have more.” Froeschel is moving to California with his new wife, and Pirker back to Austria to take over his family business. New chefs are on the way at both restaurants, but in the meantime Guttenbrunner is getting a helping hand from George Mendes, the former Tocqueville chef whose solo restaurant has been delayed longer than the Chinese space program. Guttenbrunner hasn’t revealed the ID of his new chefs yet, but we’ll let you know when we hear.
Update: Word comes from Kurt Guttenbrunner: The new chef at Wallsé will be Alex Roesch, from the two-star Michelin restaurant Tantris in Munich, who’s coming in January. Conny Quehenberger has been promoted at Blaue Gans and is currently running the kitchen there.
Tocqueville’s Mendes Opening Own Restaurant, Which Is NiceWe’ve learned that George Mendes, the very visible chef de cuisine at Tocqueville, is finalizing the lease on a restaurant space. Mendes tell us that his new place will be “gastronomically serious” but “modern, casual, and hip.” No other details yet, but the guy is an imaginative young chef — one to keep an eye on.
Tocqueville, meanwhile, is still going strong in its new space at 1 East 15th Street; executive chef Marco Moreira will be converting the old room at 15 East 15th Street into a modern Japanese restaurant.