My, what a difference a month makes.
Powell got the St. Charles post in April in the wake of the departure of then executive chef Patrick McCandless.
According to Lauren Farrar, general manager at St. Charles Exchange, The Silver Dollar had courted Powell for some time, but his decision to leave wasn’t made final until this week.
“We’re really disappointed to see him go, but we’re also really excited about the chance to find someone new who also can elevate our brand and cuisine,” Farrar said. “We have several people we’re interviewing—that process starts today—and we’ll take our time to make the best choice.”
When the restaurant opened one year ago, Mitch Presnsky served in a chef-consultant role to get the operation open and running smoothly.
Several months ago, Prensky handed the kitchen over to McCandless, who was a featured chef at the James Beard House, where he prepared a dinner in February.
Farrar declined to discuss McCandless’s departure, which came in early April.
Farrar said neither she nor St. Charles Exchange’s owners are taking Powell’s departure personally.
“He’s a talented guy, so we’re happy for him and hope he finds a good home there,” she said. “The first thing out of my mouth when he told me he was leaving was, ‘You’re still cooking my pig for my (summer) wedding, right?’ And he assured me he was cooking it because he calls it his pig.”
Larry Rice, managing partner at The Silver Dollar, confirmed the Powell’s hire, saying the move will give current executive chef, Jonathan Schwartz, the necessary freedom to focus on El Camino, the Cali-Mex-surfer Tiki bar concept Rice and his partners will open this summer in the former Avalon space in the Highlands.
Silver Dollar had moved some other chef supervisors into a relief role for Schwartz, but none worked out, Rice said, “and Tyler is too talented to be number 2. He is going to be the chef at Silver Dollar”
For those interested in the St. Charles post, Farrar is looking for a chef who has not only executive level skills, but a passion for gardening as well. This winter, she started 2,000 plants from seed in her house—and nourished them with grow lights—and is transplanting them into her backyard garden.
“Well, maybe 2,000 was a little much, or just insane,” Farrar said, laughing. “It would be nice to find a chef that does love gardening and really likes the idea of getting produce fresh from the vine. Even if that person doesn’t, there’s still a really good opportunity for whoever takes this job.”