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Posted at 3:08 PM ET, 09/23/2008

Staff Shake-Up at Westend Bistro

By Julia Beizer

Top chefs have recently left the kitchen at bustling Westend Bistro. (Sean McCormick/For The Washington Post)

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

By Julia Beizer  | September 23, 2008; 3:08 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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sorry, i couldn't resist:

Sometimes you're better off dead
There's gun in your hand and it's pointing at your head
You think you're mad, too unstable
Kicking in chairs and knocking down tables
In a restaurant in a West End town
Call the police, there's a madman around
Running down underground to a dive bar
In a West End town

Posted by: cibo matto | September 24, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

It must have been really bad. As a woman who's worked in a few high-profile DC restaurants as a server, I can tell you that sexism is rife.

Posted by: Katie | September 24, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

As a woman who thinks that all of these restaurants are overrated anyway, I can tell you that this doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: SW | September 24, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

That's some awesome insight, SW.

Posted by: mh | September 24, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

As a line cook I would just like to state that as the Chefs have a great role in the menu and have great ideas and are there to guide the line cooks, it is, however, the line cooks that are making the food the customers enjoy. Even though there are three chefs gone from Westend Bisrto, the line cooks there will continue to prepare great food. Chefs are just as replaceable as line cooks. I agree with Chef Eric Ripert's statement..."Talent doesn't excuse misbehavior and arrogance." "Part of the job of a head chef is "to create and keep a team together," the Westend team will stick together with or without them!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Ouch....a little case of overinflated ego a la' Gordon Ramsey gone wrong..

Posted by: Katt Yau | September 30, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

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