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Chef Shuffle: Randy Lewis Leaves Mecca

From the BauerBlog comes word that Randy Lewis will be foregoing his executive chef position at Mecca in the Castro. After garnering three stars in fall 2006, Mecca was forced to shutter for most of 2007 due to a fire. Upon Mecca's reopening in October, Lewis—Food & Wine's best new chef in 2001 and the man described by Bauer as "one of the Bay Area's best and most under-publicized chefs"—was forced to simplify his once-ambitious menu to the point where the food was an afterthought. Says Lewis to Bauer:

"Mecca is not the most suitable venue for my food. With the re-opening came a belief that the menu should be greatly simplified and serve to complement the bar environment."
Like Bauer, we can't say we're surprised, especially since we've heard pretty much nothing but quasi-horror reports from the new version of Mecca, both first-hand and on the interwebs. With Lewis' talent, it's good he got out before the place either goes under or fully morphs into a drinking establishment (over/under: February 2008). Here's hoping Lewis chooses to stay in the city.
· When a chef moves on [Between Meals]
· Mecca [Official Site]

Have thoughts on the new Mecca? The comments field is your oyster.