The kitchen at Rye, which chef Tyler Morris ran for 4 years. | Photo courtesy of Rye
The kitchen at Rye, which chef Tyler Morris ran for four years. | Courtesy of Rye

Yes, you read the headline right. It’s a Chef Roundup, not our typical Restaurant Roundup.

Why? Because of the significant changes happening in Louisville kitchens of late. Such as…

Morris says bye to Rye: After more than four years as partner and executive chef at Rye, Tyler Morris has left the trendsetting NuLu restaurant to join his wife, Lauryn, in California. According to beverage director and partner Doug Petry, the chef’s final day was Dec. 18.

Tyler Morris, former executive chef at Rye. | Photo courtesy of Rye
Tyler Morris, former executive chef at Rye | Courtesy of Rye

His duties, which included oversight of food produced at Galaxie, its sister restaurant and bar, will be taken by two chefs: Adam Mace, formerly sous chef at Loop 22, and Zachary Chancey, a chef at Rye since May.

“The impact that Tyler had on the development of Rye and the progression of the Louisville dining scene goes without saying,’” Petry wrote in an email. “We have been extremely blessed to work with Tyler on a daily basis, and his legacy will live on in the care and attention to detail he helped instill in every employee he worked with.”

Agreed. Great guy, humble and quiet, and well regarded in Louisville’s restaurant scene.

Didn’t even know he left!: I must say, I had no idea Brian Enyart, formerly executive chef at El Camino, has been gone … a year! After moving from Chicago to take over the kitchen in 2013, he left last December of 2014. Yep, sometimes you miss such things, and sometimes no one tells you. Enyart returned to the Windy City where he spent 16 years working for superstar chef Rick Bayless. Now, however, he’s got his own place, dos Urban Cantina, which he opened with wife Jennifer Jones Enyart in November.

Tyler Powell (dang, should we do a Chef Tyler Roundup?), the longtime chef at El Camino’s sister restaurant, The Silver Dollar, has been overseeing El Camino’s kitchen as well.

Paulin ends time at Over the 9: Griffin Paulin left the executive chef’s position at Over the 9 in December and is cooking at Corbett’s. According to Paulin, Over the 9’s owners planned to simplify the eclectic menu to a point he decided he’d rather work elsewhere.

Though he won’t share any details, he posted on Facebook recently that he’ll work at Corbett’s through Derby before moving to a permanent opportunity. Meantime, he said he’s enjoying working under Corbett’s new executive chef, Jeff Dailey, and enjoying the most modern and cook toy-laden restaurant kitchen in the city.

Chef “brawl” at Garage Bar Monday: Speaking of Paulin, he’ll be one of three chefs on hand when the annual “Back of the House Brawl” takes place at Garage Bar on Monday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m. The “Chopped”-like competition features a champions’ division that includes Paulin doing battle with Ten Tables’ Lamont Bobo and Wiltshire on Market’s Jonathan Exum.

Yes, they want you there, dear readers, to eat, drink and spend money that gets donated to New Roots, a nonprofit committed to making fresh, affordable food available to our communities. I get to judge, which should be fun.

Temple named top toque at Brooklyn & The Butcher: Robert Temple has received the unique title of head butcher and executive chef at the upcoming Brooklyn & the Butcher. The steakhouse is set to open in February in downtown New Albany.

Temple most recently served as executive sous chef at Mesh, and prior to that, he was executive chef at The Exchange Pub + Kitchen from 2013 to 2014. B&TB and The Exchange are owned by Ian and Nikki Hall.

Louis Retailleau, chef-owner of Louis le Francais | Courtesy of Louis le Francais
Louis Retailleau | Courtesy of Louis le Francais

Au revoir, Louis: Speaking of New Albany, Louis le Francais closed Dec. 1. Chef-owner Louis Retailleau posted a Facebook message saying he was retiring, and “Happy holidays and remember to enjoy life.”

Sorry to see him go. The native of Miradoux, France, cooked throughout Europe, England, Canada and the U.S. before landing on the Sunny Side in 2011.

The closure of his restaurant leaves the count of area French restaurants at three: Le Relais, Bistro Provence and La Chasse. Perhaps this fact seems amazing only to me, but when you consider the profound influence of French cuisine on all others, one might think we’d have more French restaurants.

As reported by Insider staffer Caitlin Bowling on Monday, Jeffersonville eatery Adrienne & Co. Bakery will open a third location in the space left vacant by Louis le Francais.

Don’t look for fried chicken at Gospel Bird: Speaking again of New Albany (New Albany Roundup anyone?), Eric Morris (Chef Morris Roundup?) says that while his upcoming restaurant, Gospel Bird, does link back to the Sunday dinner fried variety, he’s not promising it’ll be on menu.

“We joke and say what we’ll serve is everything from foie gras to frog legs,” said Morris, whose last restaurant stop was Epic Sammich Co. Prior to that, he was chef and partner at Loop 22, which featured a rotisserie chicken that may be served at Gospel Bird. “(The menu) is almost turning gastro-pubby, more toward the Holy Grale side as far as food. We just didn’t want to be pigeonholing ourselves saying it’s Southern so you have to serve things like fried chicken.”

More details, chef?

“We’re still working on it and kind of keeping it quiet,” he said coyly.

What’s not a secret is his decision to hire Ethan Ray as his executive chef. Morris said Ray, who worked at all three of Dustin Staggers’ restaurants (Roux, America. The Diner., Epic and the long-departed Rumplings Slurp Shop), was overdue to get an executive chef’s post. And he was glad to be the one to give him that opportunity.

“Ethan has worked at The Oakroom, Proof and several other places, and I think it’s finally time for him to run his kitchen,” said Morris. “We’ll work on an initial opening menu together, but once it gets going, he’s going to branch off on his own.”

A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page says they’ll be receiving their liquor license in early February, which gives them time to tweak and perfect.

Epic Sammich Richmond closed: And speaking of Epic, owner Dustin Staggers confirmed that Epic Sammich No. 2, located in Richmond, Ky., closed last month after a brief three-month run. Staggers essentially said sales fell short of expectations.

Sullivan’s first Oakroom menu is ready: And speaking of The Oakroom, its newly appointed chef de cuisine, Nick Sullivan, told me recently that his first menu will roll out Tuesday, Jan. 12, when the restaurant reopens after a post-holiday break. No details, unfortunately, but he’s posted pictures of large white truffles and freaky Buddha hand squashes on his Facebook feed of late.

But one of chef Michael Crouch's beautiful food photos. | Photo courtesy of Michael Crouch
But one of chef Michael Crouch’s beautiful food photos

New menu coming to Bistro 1860: Executive chef Michael Crouch said he’s hosting a private tasting of his new menu later this month, followed by a public debut in the last week of January.

If you’ve never been there, Bistro 1860 is an under-heralded restaurant that’s worth the visit. Just budget the dough to go.

If you’ve never seen the gorgeous photos Crouch shoots — with a phone camera — and posts to his Facebook feed, set aside some time to feed your eyes. Takes the phrase “edible art” to a new level.

 

Steve Coomes
Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.