It is a fundamental fact of life that change is inevitable. In the case of the restaurant industry, particularly Chefs, this seems especially true. But when good culinary talent moves, it just means new opportunities and good food is sure to follow. Every time a chef makes a move, two chefs get a new job.
Here are some of the chefs in Kansas City that have recently made moves:
Eric Carter, formerly executive chef at Providence New American Kitchen in the Hilton Hotel President, has made the move to Martini Corner to head up the kitchen at Barrel 31 as their new executive chef. Eric has over ten years of experience in kitchens all over Kansas City, but his passion has always been comforting Midwestern American cuisine.
When asked about the match between Carter’s cuisine and the menu at whiskey-centric bar and kitchen at Barrel 31 Carter responded, “I thought it was a perfect fit for both of us.”
Carter looks forward to putting out his first menu in the Spring, and in the meantime will focus on sourcing high-quality ingredients, creating consistent dishes and building on the overall dining experience at Barrel 31.
Hope Dillon has taken over the kitchen and an ownership stake in 8-year old The Drop Bar located across the street from Barrel 31 on Martini Corner. When we last caught up with Dillon, she was the executive chef at the tasteful cafe Vivilore in Independence, MO. Dillon had decided she wanted to open something in the Union Hill area and in looking for possible locations, she reached out to Chris Ridler, who owns The Drop, Sol Cantina across the street and Zócalo Mexican Cuisine on the Plaza. He talked to Dillon about taking over The Drop as her new baby instead, and she jumped in with both feet.
Having been in the kitchen for a couple of month, Dillon has already streamlined the existing menu, and added more creative and fun bruschetta’s back on the menu, which continues to be the signature dish most associated with The Drop. It was a dish developed by the original chef, Josh Eans, who now owns Happy Gillis, as a way to serve excellent food with no working stove in the tiny bar kitchen. Some of Dillon’s new bruschetta offerings are Thai Chicken & Peanut Sauce, Pimento Deviled Cheese and Lemon Pea, Parsley & Roasted Garlic.
Dillon’s favorite item on the new Winter menu is her Soup of the Day that she comes up with on the fly, and she also recommends her chorizo stuffed mushrooms and the pastrami Rueben.
“I would love to add a steak to the night offerings, and that is in the works, after Restaurant Week is over,” said Dillon.
Joe West returns to Kansas City as the new executive chef at 801 Fish in Leawood. A top KC culinary talent, West has returned home after he made the move to Cincinnati, OH in 2014 where he headed up the kitchen as the executive chef of Cincinnatian Hotel & Palace Restaurant, a AAA 4 Diamond restaurant in the heart of downtown.
West who was raised in Prairie Village, has cooked in top kitchens like Alex Restaurant at the Wynn Las Vegas and he left his position as Chef de Cuisine of Bluestem in Kansas City to take the job in Cincinnati. West was also named as one of Eater.com 50 Young Guns in 2014, which annually names people under 30 who work in the restaurant business, and who are considered “ones-to-watch.”
West, says he definitely has his eye on the future at 801 Fish, as the concept is set to expand in 2015. Additionally, he has been posting some truly gorgeous seafood dishes on his Facebook page since he started. A recent dish was a perfectly composed plate featuring New Zealand John Dory, vegetables blanched or pickled, compressed Granny Smith Apple, an emulsion of scallop and Sauce Normandy. A scallop crudo dish almost looked too pretty to eat.
With a chef like West heading up the kitchen at 801 Fish, a reservation at the Chef’s Bar is definitely in order for you to taste his talent for yourself.