Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chef's Holiday Yosemite 2008-2009 Update

We were following the career of Tony DiSalvo, who was one of the three chefs who participated in the 2008 Chef's Holiday in Yosemite.

At the time, DiSalvo was Executive Chef at Jack's in La Jolla, which had achieved a high standard of success by 2007 with great reviews. The restaurant became very popular with the in-crowd. Unfortunately, the Great Recession of 2008-09, plus other issues, had a severe impact on high end eateries such as Jacks.

After a four-year run, Jack's La Jolla Restaurant closed its doors July 2009, allegedly due to tax liens and other financial issues. We knew they were having problems when they were offering 2:1 dinner coupons in the local community newspaper. Unlike the bistros in the Bay Area, Jack's was one of those high-style places with a staff of 120 and tremendous overhead.

We just learned that DiSalvo has found a new home as Executive Chef at Whist at the Viceroy in Santa Monica. This piece appeared in the Los Angeles Times food blog section:

The scoop: Former Jean Georges chef now at Whist September 23, 2009 | 4:15 pm Tony DiSalvo, who formerly helmed the kitchen at New York's Michelin three-starred Jean Georges, has found a new home at Whist at the Viceroy. This is the latest big notch in DiSalvo's belt: He was a chef at the James Beard Award winning Gramercy Tavern during the era of Tom Colicchio's co-ownership, and he worked above a young Wylie Dufresne while at Jean Georges, which is located in the Trump International Hotel and Tower. After four years there, DiSalvo moved to San Diego to open the now shuttered Jack's La Jolla. Now, he's headed north to fill the boots of Warren Schwartz at Whist, who's left to open Westside Tavern. Whist is one of the restaurants participating in dineLA's fall Restaurant Week, so DiSalvo's appointment as executive chef comes just in time for foodies to take a test drive with him. DineLA's a sweet deal at Whist, with lunch at $22 and dinner at $34. Hopefully, DiSalvo can wrack [sic] up some points, as Schwartz did during his tenure at the restaurant.

The other two chefs, both based in the Bay Area, are also pursuing other opportunities, apparently of their own choosing.

Nate Appleman was Executive Chef at A16 and SPQR restaurants in San Francisco. A16 specializes in rustic Italian cooking from Naples and adjacent Campania, Italy, traversed by the A16 Autostrada. SPQR, is a casual osteria featuring recipes dating from Roman times. Appleman left A16 and SPQR July 2009 (see link)

The other Bay Area participant was Ms. Jesse Cool of Flea Street Café, Menlo Park, who is a leading proponent of the slow food movement. In addition to her duties at Flea Street, she is now consulting on creating a cuisine consisting of locally grown healthy food at Stanford Hospital (see link).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life's U-Turn

Dear Readers,

On August 7, 2009, Doug was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer at age 70. This happened despite the fact that he has never smoked. Needless to say, this has been a severe test for us going forward.

Meanwhile, we will publish an occasional POSTcard from our previous travels, and POSTscript updates from our archives. We feel fortunate indeed to have had the opportunity to travel as much as we have. We still expect to do some short trips near home as long as we are able to go out and about.

Later on, we will post blogs about the orphan status of lung cancer research. This is largely due to the stigma of lung cancer's association with smokers. But non-smokers are definitely at risk due to environmental factors and genetic mutations (the latter is likely in Doug's case).

Meantime, we will live life to the fullest, and welcome hearing from our readers!

November 2009 Update: After six weeks of chemotherapy, Doug has experienced a "significant partial remission" of the cancer. Although total remission is not in the cards, Doug has been able to resume most of his normal activities and feels like himself. We will enjoy this time by doing some short trips in southern California.

Doug & Marie