Au Revoir, Chef Schmit? J’espère Pas…

Cleverley’s blog greets us with sad news this morning:  Philippe Schmit is no longer with Legacy Restaurants.

Most of you will remember the equally sad revelation this past November that bistro moderne was closing, as the Hotel Derek’s new management clearly had no idea of the quality and talent that they had under their own roof with Schmit and and no ability to appreciate that fact that bistro moderne had succeeded — triumphantly succeeded, at that — where so many other restaurants had failed in the past.

Houston foodies waited with baited breath to see where Schmit would land and when he took the rather unusual step of partnering up with Legacy Resturants (the company which operates Tex-Mex haven Ninfa’s and sandwhich chain Antone’s, among others), we cocked our heads but still sighed with relief: “He’s staying here!”

Cleverley made a rather prescient observation in her blog about the move back in January:

In culinary terms, this is a rather unconventional relationship move for Schmit. I am reminded of another top-level, high profile, fine dining, celebrity Houston chef who formed a relationship with a mostly non-fine dining group with promises of his own signature restaurant in the future. When he found himself cooking Tex-Mex in a trailer, he hit the road – quickly. This happened a few years ago and it all turned out OK for this chef. He is doing superbly now. Now I’m not drawing any comparisons, I was just reminded of this story.

I think she could start a psychic business on the side if this whole restaurant guru thing didn’t work out for some reason.

So here we are, back to November again, waiting and hoping that Schmit will remain here, in the city that loves him, despite the way it’s treated him in the past year.  Stay with us, Philippe!  We promise we won’t hit you no more, baby!  We’ll change!  And, hopefully, give you that signature restaurant you’ve long deserved.

Image courtesy of the Houston Chronicle.

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Batali and Bastianiches!

Attention Houston-area fans of Italian cuisine!

In case you weren’t already lining up outside Central Market, pup tent under one arm and dog-eared copies of Molto Italiano and The Babbo Cookbook under the other, Mario Batali, the great lion himself, and Joseph Bastianich (restauranteur, Batali’s partner in crime and son of the sainted Lidia Bastianich) will be greeting fans and autographing books this Thursday, May 1st from 2:30pm to 4:00pm at the Central Market at Westheimer and Weslayan.  For more information, check out Central Market’s website here.  Tickets can be picked up at the Guest Services desk, one per person.  Your ticket is good for you and one friend, so choose wisely.  According to Alison Cook, there are only a few tickets left, so hustle on over there!

If you’re in Dallas or Austin, and also want your chance to meet some Italian culinary legends, take heart: Joseph Bastianich and the patron saint of Italian food, Lidia Bastianich, (squee!!!) will also be at the Dallas Central Market on Friday, May 2nd for a meet-and-greet and book signing (contact store for more details on tickets and times at 214-509-9215).  Dallas foodies: I am so jealous of you right now.  That might be the only time you ever hear me say that, too, so note this for posterity.

Austinites won’t be able to meet Mario or Lidia, but will be treated to an event that I think is just as special: a wine class with Joseph Bastianich at the North Lamar location this Wednesday, April 30th from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.  Tickets are $20.00 per person, and I imagine the class will fill up pretty quickly (if it hasn’t already).  More details can be found here.  Bastianich will also be signing books that afternoon in the wine department, from 2:00pm to 4:00 pm.

Images courtesy of Wine Spectator and New York Magazine.