By Erin O’Hare and Sam Padgett
Chef Tyler Teass is leaving his post as head chef at Brasserie Saison in order to spend more time with his wife and young son. “We are parting with him as friends, and wish him all the best,” says the Downtown Mall restaurant’s general manager, Will Curley, adding that “we are incredibly lucky to be able to have his replacements already on staff, having Devin Murray and Mike Perry take over for [Teass] as our chefs.”
Before working in the Brasserie Saison kitchen, Murray was chef at The Whiskey Jar. “He has a great mind for updating classic Belgian fare with modern touches,” Curley says. And Perry “has worked for seemingly every great chef in town,” he says, including Tucker Yoder at Timbercreek Market’s Back 40, Angelo Vangelopolous at the Ivy Inn, Ben Thompson at the now-shuttered Rock Barn and John Haywood at the also-shuttered OXO; Perry also served as head of Harvest Moon Catering for some time.
MidiCi, The Neapolitan Pizza Company, a small, California-based chain, will open its Charlottesville franchise this month, with preview tastings on November 11 and 12. Like the restaurant’s Facebook or Instagram pages (@MidiCiCville) to earn a free margherita pizza this weekend, baked in one of two 7,000-pound wood-fire ovens imported from Italy.
As C-VILLE’s At The Table columnist C. Simon Davidson noted last month on his The Charlottesville 29 blog, Andrew Silver, who co-founded Zocalo with Ivan Rekosh and Peter Castiglione in 2002, is moving on to a job with Roots Natural Kitchen (which he and Rekosh helped launch in 2015). Davidson notes that for now, Silver’s focus will be on Roots’ new catering space in the former St. Maarten Cafe on Elliewood Avenue, a sort of blueprint for future Roots locations. Don’t worry, though, Zocalo and Rekosh aren’t going anywhere.
Cactus restaurant gets new space
Dónde está México? It isn’t south of the Rio Grande as you would assume. It also isn’t on Carlton Avenue in Woolen Mills, underneath the Aquí es México restaurant sign—at least not anymore. Aquí es México, known for its authentic Mexican and Central American flavor, is now Cactus restaurant. New owner Castulo Gaipan (who owns the small Cactus restaurant in the Sonoco gas station on Fifth Street) plans on crafting a different, but still authentic, menu soon. Additionally, Cactus will feature a bakery run by the previous owner of Aquí Es México, which will provide a large variety of Mexican breads that will be sold both in bulk and by the slice.
Melissa Palombi’s new UVA-themed cookbook asks the provocative question that’s surely on everyone’s mind: Who’s in the kitchen? While the answer is usually assumed to be Dinah and an unspecified stranger, this new cookbook sheds light on the age-old mystery. In this case, the “Hoo” in the kitchen is an impressive collection of UVA folks from all over the country.
Featuring such personal recipes as local caterer Frank Smith’s famous butternut squash soup and jambalaya, as well as UVA’s vice provost for the arts and Virginia Film Festival executive director Jody Kielbasa’s pierogies with blueberry sauce, Hoos in the Kitchen proves to be an eclectic mix of dishes inspired by those who’ve worn orange and blue—personally and professionally. As is obligatory with anything UVA-related, there’s a Thomas Jefferson recipe…for hot chocolate. Palombi says she didn’t want to make just any old cookbook, but rather “a profile of faces and stories [that] people might not know from the UVA extended community.” The book is out this week, for those looking to have a more cavalier attitude about cooking.