Monday, July 09, 2007

James Syhabout Returns to Manresa

James Syhabout at the Alain Passard dinners. Photo courtesy of Chez Pim

Manresa Welcomes Back "Rising Star Chef "James Syhabout

James Syhabout, one of the San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chefs of 2007, will join Manresa as chef de cuisine, effective July 24. Mr. Syhabout will oversee kitchen operations under chef-proprietor David Kinch. He will be returning to Manresa where he was sous chef for nearly three years from 2003 to 2006. During his tenure, Manresa achieved its current four-star rating from the San Francisco Chronicle and was named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants by Restaurant magazine in London.

“Having James return to the restaurant is like welcoming home a family member after a long trip.” said Kinch in commenting on the appointment. “His hard work and talent as our sous chef was an important and integral part of our success, and his return keeps this important transition within our family. With his new responsibility of directing the kitchen and his understanding of how the restaurant operates, we know that James will continue to grow professionally, and together we will continue to build on our success and become the best restaurant that we can be. We are extremely excited about our future.”

Syhabout is distinguished as a 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef, an honor bestowed upon talented, young chefs in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle. As the executive chef at PlumpJack Cafe in San Francisco, Syhabout was praised for creating “...some real excitement on the menu...” Under his leadership, PlumpJack Cafe earned a glowing three-and-a-half star review from The Chronicle in February 2007.

In 2005 Kinch encouraged Syhabout to work in Europe with the Michelin three-star restaurants The Fat Duck and El Bulli. He returned to Manresa briefly before joining Chef Daniel Patterson to open the restaurant Coi in San Francisco in 2006. From there he was tapped to head the kitchen at the flagship PlumpJack Cafe.

Kinch has remained one of his best mentors and he was the only chef that Kinch invited to cook with Alain Passard of L’Arpège for a series of special dinners at Manresa in March 2007. Syhabout said, “I am very excited to return to Manresa and work with David. It was only a matter of time before we would be working together again. Manresa has always been a second home to me.”

David Kinch is growing all of the biodynamic vegetables for Manresa at Love Apple Farm in an exclusive partnership with Cynthia Sandberg. Syhabout said, “I have a deep appreciation for quality ingredients and my involvement with Love Apple Farm opens new possibilities for creativity and positive challenges which makes Manresa unique.”