by Nancy Stiles
Executive chef Chris Bork is leaving members-only hotspot Blood & Sand (1500 St. Charles Street; 314-241-7263), making room for Central Table Food Hall's Nick Martinkovic to take over. We talked to Martinkovic this week about the decision, but we wanted to know what Bork's plans are, too.
"I want to eventually open my own restaurant, and it is not feasible to get that going and do that while working the hours of a chef at a restaurant. I am leaving to pursue that," Bork tells Gut Check. "We're in the very first stages, so I don't have a space, I don't have all the money I need. It's too premature to say anything."
Bork has been at Blood & Sand since it opened in 2011 and worked closely with owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager. Bork says part of the reason he feels comfortable leaving is because Vytlacil and Frager have been so supportive of him as a chef.
"Blood & Sand has given me the opportunity to get my name out there," he says. "Adam and TJ have been very supportive from the beginning of my creative side. I've really found my voice as far as what I like to cook and how I cook."
He also says that the concept of Blood & Sand requires a higher level of customer service, so he learned how to go the extra mile. Martinkovic told us he'd be meeting with Bork before the handover, and Bork says he's happy to do whatever he can to help.
"I want Nick to do well here because I feel like it's Adam and TJ's baby, but I really feel like I helped build the place. I care about it, I want it to do well when I'm gone," Bork says. "I know it will. Anything I can do to help Nick, I will. I know he's very experienced -- he's got his own style, and I'm sure he'll be fine."
Bork declined to divulge any details about plans for his own restaurant, but we're definitely looking forward to it.