The leaves aren't all that have been changing: Several notable restaurants have weathered shakeups in their kitchens, with chefs departing and new ones taking their place.
At rustically elegant Lockkeepers (8001 Rockside Road, Valley View, 216-524-9404), the kitchen is now the domain of first-time executive chef Ky-wai Wong. The California native and graduate of London's Cordon Bleu took over from veteran corporate chef Pamela Cole-Waterman on August 29, after spending three years as sous chef at Classics. Wong's "interim menu" debuted September 28, featuring streamlined, modern American classics like pan-roasted organic chicken, potato-wrapped Georgia Banks cod, and an herb-crusted rib chop. Look for his winter menu by early November.
Cole-Waterman's resignation was prompted by family demands; she is currently launching a Rocky River catering biz.
At the Great Lakes Brewing Company (2516 Market Avenue, 216-771-4404), executive chef Kurt Steeber stepped down at the end of September. "Pat [Conway, GLBC's co-owner] and I had a conversation," Steeber says. "We decided it was a bad fit." A Lakewood native, Steeber had returned to Northeast Ohio three years ago, after chalking up a number of culinary successes in Northern California.
While foodies cheered his progressive menus, some pubgoers never warmed up to the offerings, preferring burgers and brats over salmon sous vide or braised pork belly. Too bad. That pork belly is now off the menu, although Conway vows the restaurant remains committed to supporting local growers and using fresh, sustainable products. As the search for Steeber's successor continues, Steeber is considering a downtown spot of his own.
And finally, at Boulevard Blue (12718 Larchmere Boulevard, 216-721-5500), exec chef Scott Wuennemann is out, and his former sous chef, Matthew Mytro, is in. Only 23, Mytro has been a longtime protégé of well-seasoned chef Morgen Jacobson -- who, as it happens, was the executive chef at Lockkeepers before relocating to a tony club in Boca Raton. (Isn't it spooky how this stuff goes around?)
Mytro's new dinner menu focuses on the Mediterranean, with dishes like braised veal shank osso bucco and Berkshire heritage pork "three ways," including bacon-wrapped tenderloin, roasted strip loin with thyme, and butternut squash ravioli with melted pork shoulder. Wuennemann, meantime, has become a personal chef.