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Chef Shuffle Bonanza: Dixie, Epic Roasthouse, Press

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Humphrey (left) is no longer whistlin' Dixie.
Humphrey (left) is no longer whistlin' Dixie.
Photo: gnaihc/Flickr

Apparently Indian summer is giving some local chefs cabin fever, because today brought not one, but a trio of shuffles. The most notable shift went down at Dixie, where Cavallo Point and Meadowood alum Joseph Humphrey has resigned not only as chef, but as a partner as well. Given that it was his passion project, apparently something pretty serious went down, as a chunk of the kitchen staff went with him. He's actually the second partner to walk: front-of-house manager Khalid Lahlou left earlier this year. To fill the gap, managing partner Dean Tinney has brought on Top Chef alum and gun-for-hire Erik Hopfinger (Jake's on Market, Circa), who'll take the menu in a more casual direction. Some of Humphrey's more personal menu items, like a cocktail named for his father and grandfather, are already gone.

A less dramatic shift is going down at Epic Roasthouse, where Jan Birnbaum, who's been cooking professionally for nearly 35 years, has decided to take a break from cooking after a long career that also included stints with Paul Prudhomme, at Campton Place, and at his own now-closed Catahoula in Calistoga. He'll remain a partner in Epic with Pat Kuleto and crew, and spend the rest of the year on a sabbatical while chef de cuisine Eric Hollis takes over day-to-day operations.

Finally, Napa's Press has lost Stephen Rogers, its chef of seven years, as he returns to his hometown of Dallas to open his own restaurant, Gemma, with wife Allison Yoder (who was Press' general manager). Taking over in the kitchen will be Jason Toji, a 2010 CIA grad who briefly worked at Terra and has been Rogers' sous chef for the past two years. Spencer Weiss, the GM of NYC's Rouge Tomate, will take over Yoder's slot, and award-winning couple Kelli White and Scott Brenner will remain on-board as sommeliers.

· Joseph Humphrey resigns from Dixie [Inside Scoop]
· Jan Birnbaum steps down from Epic Roasthouse [Inside Scoop]
· Press chef shuffle: Stephen Rogers leaves after 7 years [Inside Scoop]


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