Monday, January 28, 2008

Stop the presses! Chef goes on vacation

January 28

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.

14 comments:

Sam F. said...

You're right on the money: Michael cam back last night and he's just as surprised as everyone else to learn that he has left two of his restaurants.

In fact, he has not; and would love to get to the bottom of this.

Anonymous said...

just blame eater. they always post before they get the facts

Anonymous said...

eater boys shoot their wads prematurely plenty of time but this came from Gael Greene, who's friends with the chef, just read her blog...

Anonymous said...

However, there is a difference from being an executive chef and only being there occasionally to never being in the kitchen at all. Drew designs the menu with Spike and Sean. Michael wouldn't even know where to find the cutting board in the Mai House kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Hello people if anyone should be getting trashed it should be Gael not Eater, they just picked up the story and were trying to get in on the gossip. And it's pretty funny that someone of her stature would run something like that so prematurely without consulting any of Bun's PR reps first. Eater rocks!

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny when journalists know more about restaurants and chefs then their own spokespeople do.

Anonymous said...

hey bret!! here's idea why don't you man up and stage for a week at each restaurant and then form your own opinion on who's running the show!!!! or you can continue making phone calls......

Bret Thorn said...

Believe me, anonymous #6, you don’t want me doing a stage in any restaurant you work in. I tend to drop things.
That’s why some of us are journalists, and others are cooks.

Anonymous said...

Well it is good to hear that the PR team and Drew got on the same page. After all they do have a contract with the chef and him not showing at the restaurant is not a deal breaker. Plus the place is busy and getting press for the Top Chef candidate(Spike). I would have to say though that Michael, has not exactly been a stand in at any of his rest. past or present. U would be more likely to see Geoffrey Zakarian than Michael huynh at his places....If gael got the news it was accurate and people are out doing damage control....

joshua said...

i sort of worked with michael, once, and it was my impression then that he was better off OUT of the kitchen, as he really didn't know what he was doing. True, an exec. chef is the idea man of the operation, but a complete ignorance of how to execute food in a restaurant kitchen is, in my opinion, inexcusable. He was carried by an excellent staff including Gipsy (now at Rain?) and Reflection (now at BLT Steak?) I'm sure his problems with his partners occur when the partners discover hat the emperor has no clothes. Chris and Chris from Bao 111 were overly indulgent in bailing Michael out of his failing restaurant on Ave. C and giving him equity and a chance at 111. It's a shame that his luck and talent for self-promotion left them holding the bag when he left, but they're probably better off without him. He's a fraud.

Anonymous said...

I have worked with Bao and agree with Joshua 100%. Bao has no clue he takes the credit of great up and coming chefs. Example Xu Restaurant in Vietnam he was only with Xu for 2 months before the owner had enough and asked him to leave.

viagra online said...

I heard that Michael Bao Huynh took vacation to a very isolated place where he could feel free.

viagra online said...

Hi,
This is an awesome blog post.... Very happy to be visiting your blog. Its great work! Keep it up.

Thanks!

Karen Symonds said...

This article was exceedingly completed. Generic Prozac World had been hoping to discover equivalent written content and this website supplied me with everything that I needed. I will probably check Generic Lasix 40mg