I called Bún restaurant in SoHo today to see who their new chef is.
“New chef?” the person on the phone asked.
Yes, I said, because the whole New York food blog world is all in a tizzy that Michael Bao Huynh has left Bún, perhaps to open a noodle shop.
“Where did you read that?”
I told him.
“First I’ve heard of it. He is on vacation in Vietnam, though.”
Now, it’s possible that there has been a kerfuffle in upper management at Bún that hasn’t been communicated to the staff. That happens, but the blogosphere also says that Mr. Huynh is gone from Mai House, the restaurant he runs in partnership with Myriad Restaurant Group. I e-mailed them to ask what was up and got a call from Myriad chief Drew Nieporent. No, he said, he and Michael are still partners in the restaurant, they get along fine, no problems.
Well, I’ve been lied to before, plenty (though not, to my knowledge, by Drew, who can be as tight-lipped as any businessman, but he's no liar). But I still take people at their word until I can’t anymore.
So, as far as I can tell, Michael Bao Huynh is on vacation but still involved in Bún. Running the kitchen at Mai House on a day to day basis, as they have been doing all along, are Spike (not Mike) Mendelsohn and Sean Scotese. (Spike also is a contestant on the next Top Chef, so congratulations to him).
People in the restaurant industry will in no way be surprised that the executive chef isn’t working on the line every day. If someone’s chef at more than one restaurant he (or occasionally she) obviously isn’t cooking at each one every night. That’s why one develops management skills and a good staff.