Chef Jason Neroni was telling the truth with his tweets and Facebook updates after all. 10 Downing co-owner Stephane Dorian confirms today that his exec chef is indeed leaving New York for L.A. But he stresses that the departure is amicable (unlike, oh, the Porchetta/Neroni split). Dorian reports that having a baby while opening a restaurant put a lot of pressure on Neroni, especially because his family and support network were back in Orange County where both he and his wife grew up. And frankly, Dorian says, they were just homesick. So far, it seems Neroni is untethered, moving with the goal of working on his cookbook but with no signed deal at any restaurant. A very curious free agent to have hanging around LA.
Meanwhile, back in New York, Dorian is in the interviewing stage, looking at a number of exec chefs. He reports that he's happy with the concept, he's happy with what Neroni was doing, but he is going to look at this departure as an opportunity to tweak some things, change the format of the menu, etc. More on all this once a final contender has been chosen to take the reins.
· Will Neroni Skip Town, Leave 10 Downing in His Wake? [~E~]