Tom Valenti has resigned from the head chef position at Le Cirque, which comes on the heels of the iconic restaurant having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to protect the leases of the Le Cirque and Circo. According to the filing, the family owes between $500,000 and $1 million to more than 100 creditors.
“I wish the Maccioni family only the best,” says Valenti, who hasn’t decided on his next move.
Joining Le Cirque was a big move for Valenti, who shuttered his 14-year old restaurant Ouest in 2015. He is also the restaurateur behind the now-closed West Branch, an author of handful of books, and a shareholder in Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
Of the bankruptcy filing, co-owner Mauro Maccioni told Page Six that the family “had a short-term cash-flow issue.” Both Le Cirque and Circo are staying open and functioning as usual.
Looking ahead, the restaurant says it has plans to open restaurants in the Dubai Ritz-Carlton, as well as Doha, Dallas, and Orlando.
Le Cirque has seen its share of trouble recently. Management has been accused of sexual harassment by former employees and, before that, wage violations. In 2012, Times critic Pete Wells gave it a one-star. “If you asked these ingredients to speak for themselves,” he wrote, “they would shrug and stare at the floor.”
Open since 1974 when it debuted in the Mayfair Hotel, Le Cirque has resided in the Bloomberg building since May 2006.