Culinary Hires: Alicia Jenish at Gitane, Kevin Clancy at Magnolia, Matthew Tinder Officially to Meadowood

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The sign at Gitane. Photo by Jeff Dow.

Taking over the vacancy left by executive chef Patrick Kelly at ~GITANE~ is Alicia Jenish (previously at Grand Café), who was originally brought on a couple of months ago as the corporate chef for Franck LeClerc’s restaurant group/Claude Lane (she will continue to mentor other chefs at his restaurants). Her new menu is launching this Wednesday January 15th, as she envisions taking a more rustic approach. She plans to bring “Gitane back to its gypsy roots,” taking inspiration from the cuisines of Southern Spain, Northern Africa, and Southern France.

Some highlights on the new menu include pumpkin salad with Manchego, cress, and marjoram vinaigrette; blood sausage flatbread with leek butter, sunchokes, arugula, fried leeks, and sherry vinaigrette; local fish tagine; and a goat mixed grill with a cumin-scented chop, yogurt-marinated leg, crépinette, farro verde, pomegranate, and marinated feta. One thing to note is that Jenish will be integrating a whole animal program with Boer goat from The Long Ranch, lamb from McCormack Ranch, and whole pigs from Llano Seco Rancho Organic Farms.

There is also a new Spanish happy hour on the patio (Mon-Sat 5pm-close), which will include three complimentary snacks available from the kitchen or outdoor bar cart (some offerings could include fried smelt with lemon aioli, house-marinated and stuffed olives, and bacalao fritters), with the order of a cocktail, wine, beer, or housemade sangria. There are also new cocktails from lead barman Carlos Yturria that are meant to be light on their feet and pair well with food, like the Casa Blanca: gin infused with turmeric and pink peppercorn, Luxardo Maraschino, and lime.

Over at ~MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB & BREWERY~ on Haight, Dave McLean has hired Kevin Clancy as executive chef. Kevin was actually a line cook on the opening kitchen team at Magnolia in 1997 and later became sous chef, then head chef at Magnolia in 2004. He’s been at several places since, and McLean is happy to have him back in the kitchen. McLean elaborates: “Kevin is already part of the Magnolia family and he brings a deep understanding of our kitchen, brewery, and our culinary goals and vision.”

After running the rumor that corporate pastry chef Matthew Tinder was leaving the Daniel Patterson Group to go to The Restaurant at Meadowood, we now have an official statement from Daniel Patterson confirming the news: “Professionally, it has been a pleasure to work with Matt for close to three years. Over that time I have watched his style grow and evolve into something really special. I wrote extensively about him in the Coi book, even though I knew that he would eventually be moving on, out of respect and gratitude for his contributions. On a personal level, Matt has become a great friend, and I will miss his presence. He left all of the restaurant dessert programs in great shape, especially Coi, where Nick Muncy, who worked with closely with Matt for several years, continues to run the program at a very high level. As a group, we wish Matt every success for the future.”

The team at ~THE RESTAURANT AT MEADOWOOD~ share that Tinder is the first pastry chef to hold the title in three years, since Boris Portnoy departed in 2011. Executive chef Christopher Kostow says: “My biggest concern has always been the creation of invisible walls within the kitchen. For this reason, all cooks have, and will continue to, work in pastry as part of their training process.” With the hiring of Tinder, Kostow’s kitchen will be taking on a stronger pastry presence, and continuing to push things into full-tilt excellence over there.