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Dana Cowin's Next Job, Downie Joins Indian Accent, Le Cirque's New Chef, and More Intel

Tom Valenti has a new project in the works, plus more restaurant news and gossip from around New York City.

[The dining room at Dirty French.  Strong choice for a Wednesday night dinner, and the lunch menu is solid too.]
[The dining room at Dirty French. Strong choice for a Wednesday night dinner, and the lunch menu is solid too.]
Daniel Krieger

After 21 years as the editor in chief of Food & Wine, Dana Cowin is stepping down from her position to take a new job as the chief creative officer of the Chefs Club restaurants in New York and Aspen, Colorado. Cowin is going to start her new role at the Food & Wine-affiliated restaurant group after finishing the March issue of the magazine in January. Chefs Club in Nolita features an ever-changing roster of talent from around the country, including a number of people who have been named Best New Chefs in Food & Wine over the years. Cowin will be working with culinary director Didier Elena, formerly of Adour, and Matthew Aita, previously of Le Philosophe. Food & Wine has not announced who will replace Cowin as editor in chief.

— Restaurateur Rohit Khattar has hired Eleven Madison Park's general manager Paul Downie to work as the director of operations for the New York location of his New Delhi hit Indian Accent. Before coming to EMP, Downie worked at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Zuma in London. Khattar says that he's "delighted to have Paul on board with his great experience as GM at some of the best restaurants in the world." The restaurant in the Parker Meridien is now slated to open early next year. Downie is currently finishing up his tenure at EMP.

— Matteo Boglione, the chef who ran wacky Tribeca Italian restaurant Il Matto, is the new chef at Le Cirque. After closing his Tribeca establishment, Boglione worked at Le Cirque's Mumbai spinoff. Boglione replaces Raphael Francoise, the young French chef who joined the restaurant around a year and a half ago.

— In other chef shuffle news, Josh DeChellis, formerly of La Fonda Del Sol, is the interim executive chef at Il Buco Alimentari e Vinieria. He's cooking at Donna Lennard's restaurant at least through January, but possibly longer.

Some PR people are inviting Instagram users with lots of followers to eat at their clients' restaurants in the hopes that they will share a bunch of photos. And some flacks people are paying actual cash to 'grammers for their photos. Olivia Young, Altamarea Group's director of communications, tells the WSJ: "For a couple of hundred bucks for one person, I’m going to have potentially 500,000 people seeing brunch at Morini." It's not a sure-fire trick, though. Helen Zhang, a rep that works with Stanton Social and Casa Nonna, explains that she once invited a bunch of Instagrammers to a meal that cost around a thousand bucks, and they didn't each post one photo, as promised. Zhang remarks: "The restaurant was obviously not pleased....We had to say ‘OK, lesson learned.’"

The owners of Michael Jordan's Steakhouse are suing the MTA over problems with the homeless population near the restaurant, which they claim are caused by construction on Grand Central Terminal. The suit notes that the "restaurant has become plagued by filth, garbage and urine," because homeless people allegedly congregate near the dining room. The suit notes that business has dropped by 24 percent recently. The MTA says that the waterproofing work is almost complete, and the authorities will reopen the Vanderbilt Avenue entrance to the station, which could alleviate the issues.

— And speaking of Michael Jordan's, one of the partners in that restaurant, Matthew Glazier, is planning a new West Village project with Tom Valenti, formerly of Ouest. No word yet on what type of food it will serve, but it's slated to open in the spring at 142 West 10th Street.

Daniel Delaney continues to tweak the recipes at Delaney Chicken in UrbanSpace Vanderbilt Market. The chef/restaurateur notes: "It’s exhausting, but things are going well. We're ready to bring in new menu items – a salad, a different sandwich, even breakfast. And I’m looking at other potential venues."

Williamsburg bar NitaNita is closing after service on December 5. The landlord offered the owners a chance to extend their lease at market rate, but it would've been three times what they've been paying, so they're throwing in the towel. Proprietor Samantha DiStefano says she hopes to reopen another bar, but it probably won't be in Williamsburg.

Eater is hosting an industry happy hour tonight along with Culinary Agents at The Happiest Hour in the West Village from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Early birds will get a first round on Eater, and there will be a raffle with special prizes.

— And finally, here's how to pick the perfect restaurant:

Le Cirque

151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022 Visit Website

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