Avid followers of the New York City restaurant scene have known for more than 30 hours that Christopher Lee is leaving his post as chef of Gilt to take over the kitchen of Aureole. It’s big news. Chris is an alumnus of Oceana from when Cornelius Gallagher was executive chef there, and then he built a name for himself in Philadelphia at what at the time was one of that city's landmark restaurants, Striped Bass.
He recently picked up two Michelin stars at Gilt, where he replaced Paul Liebrandt, and got other good press for himself there as well. Still, Aureole has one of the most respected kitchens in New York City and it’s a big move for Chris, who also has a newborn at home to take care of. Exciting times for the chap.
But I wondered what was going to happen to Aureole’s current executive chef, Tony Aiazzi, and so when I got the press release this morning — long after The New York Times broke the news online, the blogs went nuts and the scoop in print media for The Times was assured — I asked the publicist what Tony was going to be doing.
My question apparently cost him a bottle of wine, because he had bet the publicist that no one would ask.
Turns out he’s going to be taking some time off and traveling. He said he hopes to check out North African cuisine, as it has always interested him. He also expressed an interest in getting back to Paris, though, so if you happen to know of any restaurants there looking for an over-qualified stagiaire, let me know.