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Posted at 1:32 PM ET, 01/ 4/2010

Top chef says adieu to Central Michel Richard

By Tom Sietsema

Chef Cedric Maupillier has parted ways with Central Michel Richard, reports his former boss.

"He did a great job: Two years at Citronelle and three years at Central," says Michel Richard, singing the praises of his former chef at the fashionable French-American bistro earlier today.

The split was described by both men as amicable. Maupillier says he wants to take a two-month "food break" to travel (likely to Asia), but he plans to return to Washington and contemplate "the next step"-- which won't include working for another chef. His dream: Cooking in a place "with my name on the door."

Taking Maupillier's place at Central is Arthur Cavaliere, until recently the executive chef of the 300-plus-seat Parc in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square and now a week-long resident of Washington. Richard was introduced to the 29-year-old Philadelphia native by a mutual friend, and he sampled Cavaliere's bistro cooking twice at Parc before hiring him for Central. Richard appreciated his "simple" food and "elegant" execution, despite the crowds. On a busy day, says Cavaliere, he and his crew served 2,000 lunches and dinners.

Richard says he plans to work with his new hire, who starts next week, to better Central's bar menu and give some "old food fresh twists."Stay tuned, the master of edible wit says, for reimagined meatballs and chicken pot pies.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | January 4, 2010; 1:32 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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