After helping to reopen the newly relocated Fish & Farm, chef George Morrone (Aqua, Fifth Floor) has decided to part ways with the restaurant, citing "concept and infrastructure changes." Apparently, the restaurant's new digs still have the specter of its former tenant, chain restaurant Elephant & Castle, hanging around, prompting owner Michael Najjar to make the concept "more basic," especially during lunch. Unsurprisingly, changing the menu to avoid anything "too fancy" or "too creative" did not fit into the renowned chef's agenda, leading to his swift departure from the restaurant.
Chef Zack Freitas has been announced as executive chef of The Keystone, the restaurant that will take over the former home of Annabelle's Bar & Bistro in The Mosser Hotel. Freitas joins the team following an abrupt exit from his position at Game, the Union Square restaurant from Sachin Chopra and Shoshanna Wolff (owners of michelin-starred All Spice in San Mateo) in January. Now the chef is back in the kitchen, planning "an ode to Bay Area cuisine," according to Inside Scoop. The new concept will open in Mid-July, if all goes according to plan.
Oakland's Southern-inspired Picán is the scene of another chef shuffle, following last fall's departure of chef Sophina Uong and the inception of Robert Sapirman. At the time, owner Michael LeBlanc said he planned to leverage Sapirman to open "two or three" new restaurants in the East Bay; now Sapirman has returned to the world of corporate cheffery. In his place, French chef Jerome Fressinier will step up to the plate, keeping Southern favorites like shrimp and grits and fried chicken on menu, but with the addition of more local ingredients. Fressinier, who has experience under chefs Hubert Keller and Marc Veyrat, plans to change about a quarter the menu by July fourth.