After showcasing his mastery of Italian cooking at Tavola, Caleb Warr is leaving his post as head chef. Dylan Allwood, current chef de cuisine at C&O Restaurant, will take the spot.
Warr, a Louisiana native, arrived in Charlottesville seven years ago with a desire to cook. He didn’t attend culinary school, but with dedication and hard work, he won spots in some of Charlottesville’s best kitchens—Zinc, The Rock Barn and Mas among them—and is in the running for the coveted title of best chef in our 2017 Best Of C-VILLE poll.
Warr’s last day at Tavola (the restaurant is co-owned by C-VILLE’s arts editor Tami Keaveny) will be June 10, after which he’ll relocate to Cape Cod with his family and run the kitchen at an athletic center while getting to know New England food and culture before deciding what’s next. He says he’s proud of what he’s accomplished at Tavola, most of all passing knowledge along to other hard-working, aspiring cooks.
“I’ll miss my staff the most,” says Warr. “General manager Priscilla Martin and owner Michael Keaveny and I have developed something very special recently. Walking away from this was not easy, but I leave it in very great hands between them and my kitchen staff in conjunction with Dylan. I will also miss other chefs and cooks in this town—there are to many to name, but a few are very special to me.”
Allwood feels similarly about his departure from C&O. The restaurant “has an extremely talented team…some of the best in the business,” Allwood says, both in the front of the house and the kitchen and bar. “It’s very much like a family, and it will be difficult to leave—even for such a great opportunity.”
Allwood got his first kitchen job when he was 15, washing dishes at a local restaurant in his hometown of Locust Grove. He eventually worked his way up to line cook, then attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked at the Clifton Inn and at Lemaire in the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond before cooking at the now-shuttered Brookville Restaurant. After serving as sous chef to Brookville’s Harrison Keevil, Allwood was sous chef and later executive chef at Rocksalt Charlottesville before landing at C&O.
“I’ve always had a passion for Italian food but have never had the opportunity to explore that in any of the kitchens I’ve cooked in previously,” says Allwood. “This is my chance to explore that passion with some of the best in the business.” Plus, “Tavola has some of the best food in Charlottesville. I’m looking forward to being part of that tradition,” he says.