Le Cirque will have a new chef as of next week. Massimo Bebber, who served as executive chef at Sirio, will replace Matteo Boglione, who filled the shoes of Raphael Francois back in November. "We were happy with Matteo, but he had a personal issue and needed to go back to Florence,'' says Mauro Maccioni. As for Francois, Maccioni says he turned out to be too edgy for Le Cirque. "He is a highly stylized chef who wanted to do a product a little closer to what 11 Madison or Contra would like to do,'' he assesses. "Though he was talented, his ambitions were a little esoteric for us. We want to do a product that is Michelin level, but we still have a customer base that orders their chicken for two, tuna tartare and spaghetti primavera.'' Maccioni says Bebber can strike the right balance. "Massimo's food is clean but very elegant. We are confident people will be thrilled with it.''
This is the third chef shuffle in three years at the Maccioni family's storied East Side restaurant.