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Less Than Two Years In, Chef Laurent Gras Has Left Two-Michelin-Starred Saison

The restaurant has not yet revealed its future plans

Bonjwing Lee

This past spring, when Joshua Skenes decided to take a step back from his three-Michelin-starred flagship restaurant, Saison, he did so knowing that he was placing the restaurant in good hands — specifically, the able hands of Laurent Gras, a chef who’d already earned that vaunted three-Michelin-star rating at three other restaurants (in France and also at L20 in Chicago), and who had joined the Saison team in 2018.

Now, a year and a half after his arrival in SF, Gras is leaving Saison to move to New York, the chef announced on his Instagram page over the weekend. His last day in the kitchen was New Year’s Eve.

“I have decided to move back to New York to be closer to my wife, family and friends,” Gras wrote. “It was wonderful to return to San Francisco for the opportunity at Saison, and I am grateful to have spent this past year and a half with its talented team.”

Saison, for its part, has yet to respond to Eater SF’s inquiries into the restaurant’s future plans, though the restaurant posted on its own Instagram page that the restaurant will “remain open” and will “introduce a new experience at Saison in 2020.” “We’ll be taking this opportunity to bring a little piece of what we have been working on to San Francisco,” Skenes stated in that same Instagram post.

Whether that means Skenes will be drawing on the kind of $800 private dining experience the chef has rolled out at his home in Los Angeles, or the events he’s planned for his private hunting and fishing lodge in Washington state — and whether there will be a new chef appointed, or if Skenes himself will return to the kitchen at Saison — all remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, under Gras’ watch, Saison evolved in both small ways and large. It did lose one of its Michelin stars, but Gras also launched a new five-course bar prix-fixe menu that allowed diners to experience the restaurant at a somewhat lower price point. When Skenes stepped away last spring, Gras also became a co-owner of Saison — it’s unclear whether he will still maintain that ownership stake, or any role at all at the restaurant.

Stay tuned as more information becomes available.


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