City Bites

CHEF SHUFFLE: New chefs in top spots at Hintonburg Public House, The Urban Element and the soon-to-open gezellig

On the move: The chefs are getting restless and Shawna Wagman has the latest on who's going where.

First we heard from Summer Baird, owner of Hintonburg Public House, that Kris Kshonze, her head chef, was leaving. He has decided to stay home with his new baby — trading in a life in the service of hipsters for one in the service of diapers.

Then, we heard that Anna March, Mariposa’s former chef, was returning to the kitchen this fall after her maternity leave to join The Urban Element where she is now the head cooking class instructor as well as leading the culinary team for in-house corporate and private events. (She replaces Candice Butler who left a few months ago to take over the food program at Elmwood School.) We have since put the pieces of the puzzle together and realize that March and Kshonze are in fact a couple. Their son’s name is Henry.

Now Baird has confirmed that Mark Currier, currently resident chef at Mariposa Farm, will replace Kshonze at the end of October. It’s a reunion for Currier and Baird, who worked together in the kitchen at The Urban Pear about seven years ago when Baird was chef and co-owner and Currier was her sous-chef. So far, there is no news about who will replace Currier at Mariposa.

Meanwhile, restaurateur Steve Beckta and executive chef Michael Moffatt of Beckta and Play are preparing to launch their new sibling restaurant, gezellig at the end of October. They recently hired Che Chartrand as chef de cuisine of the Westboro spot. In August, Chartrand sold his Wakefield restaurant Chez Eric to a pair of his employees after realizing the grind of owning a restaurant was leading to burnout. “There was nothing left,” he says. “I needed to get inspired again.”

This new gig reunites the gregarious Chartrand with what he calls “the Beckta boys.” He worked with Chef Moffatt at Beckta’s eponymous restaurant in 2004. He tells us his sous-chef at gezellig will be Brian DePonte, who is moving over from Play. Other than that, Chartrand is pretty tight-lipped about what we can expect from gezellig. Perhaps he’s in the dark like the rest of us. “I’m not exactly known for keeping my mouth shut,” he jokes. “I’m animated and full of piss and vinegar. Everybody there is reminded of the old Che.”

All he’ll say about the menu so far is that it will include large sharing plates — things like roast chicken for two with a choice of several different sides; a whole fish platter; or ribs.

“It’s all Mike’s menu,” he says. “Hopefully I’ll make additions to it, but that’s up to [Chef Moffatt].” As for the tricky-to-pronounce Dutch name of the restaurant, Chartrand finds it funny that people are fascinated by it. Apparently nicknames are already widely in use. “I call it TriBeckta,” says Chartrand. “Chef calls it the g-spot. It doesn’t matter. I won’t be the one answering the phone.”

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