Chef Gordon Drysdale on the Move, Plus New Chef Hires: Bix, Liberty Cafe, Amber Dhara


Gordon Drysdale. Photo by Ed Anderson.


Chef Edward Higgins.


Amber Dhara. Photo from Facebook.

A tipster alerted me to some changes with chef Gordon Drysdale’s level of involvement with the ~SWEETWATER MUSIC HALL~ in Mill Valley: he is transitioning to more of a consulting, as-needed relationship. Basically, they knew there would ultimately be a time when it wasn’t going to be financially feasible to keep Drysdale there full time. He says, “I looked at it as more of a long-term consulting gig.” While he’s still a partner, he’s going to be passing the bulk of the responsibility to his right-hand man, Francisco Contreras, who has been working with Drysdale the past 16 years (Drysdale raved about him: “what a palate!”). He will help with menus for parties and any other as-needed situations. Drysdale says, “I had a blast!” and is now considering some other projects and opportunities that will hopefully continue to fuse his love of food, art, and music—stand by to see what shakes out.

After we reported on the upcoming departure of Erik Lowe and the chef hunt at ~BIX~, chef-partner Bruce Hill gave me a call to inform me of their chef hire: Edward Higgins. You may remember his name in tablehopper: he was originally going to be opening his own restaurant called BAiA, but that fell through. He also recently consulted on The Bureau in Emeryville. Higgins has worked at Four Seasons Palo Alto, and with Marco Canora at Insieme and Hearth in New York, and with Canora and Tom Colicchio at Craft. Yeah, he has some serious chops. Look for his menu to be in place by the end of April or so.

Bernalwood mentions ~THE LIBERTY CAFE~ has a new chef: Chad Kaneshiro, previously at “Barracuda sushi in Mountain View, Kingfish in San Mateo, and Oryza Bistro Asiana in Santa Clara.” He has reportedly “spiced up the menu with healthier Asian-inspired appetizers and entrées while keeping the California-French cafe style Liberty has always been known for.” On the menu: uni flan, pickled beets and burrata, spring vegetable risotto, and yes, the chicken potpie. Here’s hoping he brings some quality control and steadiness to the restaurant—it’s been rocky over there. 410 Cortland Ave. at Wool, 415-695-8777.

There is also a new chef at ~AMBER DHARA~ on Valencia: Manish Tayagi (previously chef de cuisine at Rasika in Washington, D.C.). Inside Scoop mentions the menu and cocktails will be completely revamped, and prices will be lower. 680 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-400-5699.