Staff Shake-Up at Westend Bistro
Boys will be boys: Executive chef Leonardo Marino and at least one of his sous chefs have been removed from the kitchen at the popular Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert in the Ritz-Carlton. They were suspended last Friday after ongoing "behavior problems," according to the celebrity chef whose name graces the menu there.
While praising Marino's cooking skills, Ripert, who mentored the chef for almost six years at the acclaimed Le Bernardin in New York, told me: "Talent doesn't excuse misbehavior and arrogance." Part of the job of a head chef is "to create and keep a team together," he added.
While no one would go on the record about specific allegations, Marino and crew reportedly created something of a "boy's club" in the hotel kitchen. A spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton would only confirm that the company was "conducting an internal investigation." Reached at home, Marino would only say, "I resigned today."
In an attempt to repair the damage, Ripert has sent in reinforcements, including one of his sous chefs from New York and another cook who has worked locally for both Michel Richard and Yannick Cam.
I wrote a review of Westend for my upcoming annual Dining Guide. Tomorrow, look for the Review That Almost Was at the beginning of my Wednesday live discussion beginning at 11 a.m.
-- Tom Sietsema
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