André HalstonAndré Halston, a veteran of both fine-dining restaurants and casual-dining chains, has joined 58-unit Quaker Steak & Lube as corporate chef, effective Oct. 21.

Halston has worked as executive chef at various Ritz-Carlton properties, as well as corporate chef for chains including Nick’s Fishmarket, Champps and La Madeleine, plus the Wild Oats Market supermarket chain.

Katy Malaniak, Quaker Steak & Lube senior director of food and beverage, who has filled both research and development and procurement roles, will focus more on supply chain management and being a culinary resource, while Halston focuses on product development, according to the Lube’s chief executive, John Longstreet.

“I think he’s going to be a terrific addition to the R&D and culinary team,” said Longstreet.

Richard Sandoval Restaurants has named Jose Luis Flores corporate pastry chef for its 30-unit system.

Most recently executive chef and pastry chef of Bongos Cuban Café in Hollywood, Fla., which is owned and operated by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Flores is working on new pastries such as coconut profiteroles, triple-layer chocolate brownie cake with black plum sauce, and banana trés leches cake.

Daniel Causgrove Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation, which owns the two A Voce restaurants in New York City, has named executive chefs for both restaurants. They replace Missy Robbins, who oversaw culinary operations at both locations before resigning earlier this year.

Filippo Gozzoli, most recently executive chef of Sirio Ristorante in New York City, is now running the kitchen at A Voce Columbus. A native of Cremona, Italy, Gozzoli has expanded the menu, including adding salads. He also has added Saturday brunch service. The restaurant previously only served brunch on Sunday.

Ben Lee is the new chef at A Voce Madison. Previously, he was chef de cuisine of Nicoletta in New York City. Lee is originally from Philadelphia and studied hotel, restaurant and institutional management at Penn State. He has added entrées for two people to share, including Dover sole with salsa verde and a 40-ounce porterhouse Fiorentina.

Justin Ernsberger Roy Shvartzapel, who was on the opening team of Bouley Bakery in New York City and has worked with some of Europe’s leading pastry chefs, is opening his own place in his hometown of Houston later this year called Common Bond Café & Bakery. Most recently, Shvartzapel was pastry chef at Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Justin Ernsberger has been named executive chef of Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is slated to open this fall.

Most recently a consultant for three-unit Lobster Joint, also in New York City, Ernsberger, who graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York, also was executive chef of The Mermaid Inn’s East Village location and Walter Foods in Brooklyn.

Kurt EhrlichJorge Valines has been named executive chef of James Beach and Canal Club, two restaurants in Venice, Calif. Most recently executive chef of Dry Tour in Venice, Valines is offering dishes such as tuna poke and mahi mahi tacos at James Beach. At Canal Club, he makes a bacon-and-egg udon bowl, as well as ginger barbecued baby back ribs.

Daniel Causgrove is the new chef de cuisine at The Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.

Causgrove, who most recently was executive chef of Cochon in New Orleans and studied English and environmental studies at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., describes his cuisine as a mixture of “David Chang [chef-owner of the Momofuku restaurants in New York City] and René Redzepi [chef of Noma in Copenhagen] if they were reading Faulkner to each other.”

Virgile Brandel Chris Leynes is the new executive chef of The Front Porch at the Hotel Duval in his hometown of Tallahassee, Fla., where he is making barbecue grilled salmon, seared ham steak with bourbon-soaked peaches and horseradish, and “Southern Misto,” his version of the Italian fried seafood dish. Leynes’ version is made with calamari, eggplant, okra and lemon. Most recently, he was executive sous chef for the University Center Club at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Matt Albertario, who spent six years as executive chef of Wildfire in Atlanta, is the new executive chef of Ray’s on the Creek in Alpharetta, Ga. Most recently he was sous chef of sister restaurant Ray’s on the River in Atlanta.

Originally from Chicago, Albertario grew up in a family of cooks and got his formal culinary education at Kendall College in Evanston, Ill.

Kurt Ehrlich, former owner of Celebrity Gourmet Catering in Los Angeles, is the new chef at Wirtshaus, also in Los Angeles, where he is making his signature German beef stew, vegetarian casserole and apfelpfannkuchen, or apple pancakes.

Virgile Brandel is the new executive chef of the Conrad in Miami. Most recently sous chef at Eden Roc Hotel, also in Miami, Brandel received an associate’s degree in applied science and culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality management at the Hospitality and Culinary School of Chalons-Sur-Marne, France.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
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