Cutlets has been all up in the departure of Scott Conant from Alto this week, landing the story yesterday and following-up with a few details today. But when a guy who's running five stars worth of Manhattan kitchens parts ways with his two restaurants -- both of which were opened for the express purpose of putting Conant on a stage for all to see -- a simple explanation of there having been "longstanding disagreements between Conant and [Alto owner, Chris] Cannon on how to move forward with their partnership" does not suffice. There is more to this story, friends.
First of all, and before we take one single step more forward, let's remember that Alto, under the direction of Mr. Conant began as a total unmitigated disaster. He ultimately righted most of the wrongs, and dialed the place back from the fussiness with which it opened, but the damage was done. There's no question that Cannon, who has been all but a silent partner until this news broke, has been searching for a way to get Conant out of Alto for some time. You'll note that a December decision by Conant and Cannon to part ways matches up nicely with Michael White's sudden exit around that time from Fiamma.
And then there are the Conant questions. Why leave, really? Did Cannon want too much of a cut of the cookwear line
that's surely in the works? Is the kitchen grind becomming too tedious for a guy who has been itching to get the TV show and worldwide fame for years now? We don't have the answers to these questions, but we soon will. In the meantime, we will enjoy Conant's excellent food on the East End, at Tutto Il Giorno, where he be able to maintain a relatively low profile and gear up for a a big announcement, quite possibly from his marketing guru/buddy Scott Feldman.
· Scott Conant Takes Leave of Alto, L'Impero [Cutlets]
· Behind the Scenes at the Conant-Cannon Divorce [Cutlets]