by Nancy Stiles
Gamlin Restaurant Group has just announced corporate executive chef Ivy Magruder's resignation. In the interim, their portfolio of restaurants -- Sub Zero Vodka Bar, Gamlin Whiskey House, Taha'a Twisted Tiki -- will be run by Gamlin Whiskey's chef de cuisine Gilberto Espinosa and Sub Zero kitchen manager Jamie Gomez Ortiz. Magruder joined Gamlin just eight months ago after leaving Vin de Set to take over the struggling Panorama.
"Ultimately it came down to economics and time. I think he agrees that we're on fire right now," co-owner Lucas Gamlin tells Gut Check. "But Bon Appétit [the company that owns Panorama] sought him out about a month ago and came back to him three times since with better offers. It's a no-brainer for his family -- better hours and more money."
Gamlin says the transition should run smoothly since Espinosa developed most of the menu and Magruder was more overseeing all three restaurants. As of now, nothing at the restaurants will change. The Gamlins are looking for an outside hire to replace him as executive corporate chef.
Bon Appétit also sent out a statement today announcing Magruder's hire:
"Having the opportunity to work for this iconic institution and for Bon Appétit is a privilege," Magruder said. "I'll focus on creating an approachable menu that reflects the culture of the Saint Louis Art Museum."
Magruder will report to David Marshall, Bon Appétit's general manager at the Saint Louis Art Museum. "We are fortunate to have Ivy join our company and the Museum," Marshall said. "He understands St. Louis and the region and diners' expectations, which will be reflected in a fresh approach to our menus."
"It's really unfortunate to see him go," Gamlin says. "I consider him a friend, so I don't want to hold him back from what's best for his career and family."
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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