Didn’t see this one coming: A tipster writes in with the news that Ryan Skeen, the talented but mercurial chef most recently of 5 & Diamond has taken a job as the new consulting chef at Sweetiepie. Yes, Sweetiepie, the curlicued West Village spot with the birdcage in the dining room, beloved by West Village moms and kids including the Goopstress herself, Gwyneth Paltrow, that was also a central player in our own Shitshow Week 2009.
This news comes just two weeks after word broke that Skeen's consulting deal with the Coffee Shop team on a project in the Empire Diner space had fallen through and that he was slowly extricating himself from 5 & Diamond. Skeen says he's more of a helper than a consultant—they already have a consulting chef, of course!—there for the short term to organize the menu, bring on new purveyors like Pat La Frieda, and the like.
We’ve heard rumblings from sources close to the chef’s previous restaurants that Skeen is more interested in gun-for-hire consulting work these days, and that he may even have plans outside of the New York sometime in the near future. In this light, his time at 5 & Diamond certainly makes sense: he opened saying that he was a partner, did the requisite press rounds, helped the place get some great reviews, then dropped out once it was on its feet, claiming he was always "working on a partnership." A similar arrangement at Sweetiepie would basically be a win-win situation for all parties, as it would be a lucrative, low-key, potentially short term gig for Skeen, and the restaurant would get a menu overhaul from a talented chef, with a lot of experience coming on to projects mid-way through (see, the now shuttered Allen & Delancey, Irving Mill).
And lord knows Sweetiepie could use a little help in the food department. It will be exciting to see how Skeen's touch with salty offal and housemade charcuterie works alongside a menu filled with items like the Sweetiepig, Candy S’Creamer, and the Raspberry and Rose Petal Fool!
· All Ryan Skeen Coverage on Eater [~ENY~]
· All Sweetiepie Coverage on Eater [~ENY~]