There is some chef shuffling happening under the Il Buco umbrella. Just last month, Barcelona native Roger Martinez was brought in to run the kitchen at Il Buco Alimentari, replacing Justin Smillie who left to pursue his own project. But now, Il Buco reps tell Eater that owner Donna Lennard has moved him over to head up the kitchen at the original on Bond Street. There he'll work under Il Buco's longtime chef Joel Hough, who has now been promoted to oversee the kitchens at both Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari as executive chef. Justin Smillie's old team — chef de cuisine Victoria Blamey and sous chefs Sam Crocker and Nick Ugliarolo — will work under Hough at Alimentari.
It's not quite clear why this game of musical chairs is being played, although murmurs from one tipster suggest Martinez wasn't a good fit for Alimentari. But Lennard explains that she's returning to her original vision, where the two Il Bucos collaborate often. According to the statement: "Donna's vision for her restaurant group is that each will continue to have its own distinct menu, atmosphere and personality, yet at the same time, she looks forward to an exciting era of collaboration."