5 Ninth’s Interim Chef de Cuisine Just Wasn’t Management Material5 Ninth’s interim chef de cuisine Richard Sterling is now 5 Ninth’s former interim chef de cuisine. The cook, previously of SushiSamba, took over from Mary Ellen Heavner on an extended trial when Heavner headed uptown to Amalia. He apparently did some brilliant work in his short time there, but executive chef Zak Pelaccio tells us that Sterling’s problem wasn’t behind the stove: Chef de cuisines have to do a lot more than cook, and it seems he wasn’t up to the administrative duties. Pelaccio’s back from London and running the kitchen until a permanent replacement is hired. That lucky person will then implement a revamped menu, which we’re told will have less of an emphasis on Asian ingredients and techniques.
5th Ninth’s Chef de Cuisine Makes a Girl-Power MoveMary Ellen Heavner, the chef de cuisine who ran the 5 Ninth kitchen during executive chef Zak Pelaccio’s extended absences, has left the restaurant. Oddly, for a chef of Heavner’s reputation, it’s to take a lesser position, that of sous-chef to Ivy Stark at Amalia, the new restaurant opening next month in the Dream Hotel. (We originally wrote about Amalia last month.) Why take the step down? Heavner attributes it to girl power. “I thought it would be kind of cool to work for a woman,” she says, “and to see how she’s managed her career as a female chef. She opened Dos Caminos, she was the executive at Rosa Mexicana, and she did great cooking at Lespinasse and Lutece. And I really like her food.” It also cannot have escaped Heavner’s notice that the Dream Hotel is owned by Vikram Chatwal, one of the wealthiest hoteliers in the world. Chatwal won’t have to look far the next time he wants to open a big restaurant in one of his luxury hotels.
Earlier: Dream Hotel’s Restaurant Still a Dream, But Opening in January
Cesare Casella Invents a New Pig!A lot of chefs — particularly of the Haute Barnyard breed — advertise their love of farms. But how many actually mastermind a breeding program, and then invite other chefs to the country to see the results? Cesare Casella, the Tuscan cook behind Maremma, has been breeding two types of pigs (and snow-white Chianina cattle) at Stonewall Preserve upstate. On Monday, he invited Mark Ladner of Del Posto, April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, Zak Pelaccio of Fatty Crab, Kevin Garcia of ‘Cesca, and Mary Ellen Heavner of 5 Ninth to come up and sample the Stonewall pig.