January 28, 2009

Moving forward in 2009

As the second decade of Fork begins to unfold, it will do so in the absence of Chef Thien Ngo, who recently announced his retirement from cooking. Aside from being an inventive and visionary chef, Thien has always been a gracious friend and an excellent teacher.

Last summer when Chef Thien Ngo announced his intention to retire, I didn’t take him seriously at first. We had spent so many memorable nights around the table learning about new foods and sharing bottles of wine, it was surreal to think Thien would no longer be the commander of our kitchen… a position he held for nearly a decade. When Thien departs at the end of January, it will no doubt leave a sense of emptiness where his personality and culinary inventiveness once so modestly filled.

I knew that replacing Thien would not be an easy feat, and so I began contacting numerous friends in New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. After months of searching, my partner and Wine Director Roberto Sella and I officially sealed the deal with Terence Feury. Terence’s résumé includes many of our region’s premiere restaurants. Most recently he opened Maia in Villanova, with his equally acclaimed brother Patrick, and before that he honed his craft at the Ritz Carlton of Georgetown and Philadelphia, the original Stripped Bass and Le Bernadin in Manhattan. Terence is a natural fit and shares Fork’s vision in terms of simple, straightforward, ingredient-driven food that focuses on fresh local fare with an emphasis on artisanal items such as breads, pastas and charcuterie. As you may know, Terence has a passion for seafood which no doubt will be a highlight of the menu. Though rest assured, Fork is not going to become a seafood restaurant. Terence’s masterful style, affinity for highlighting natural flavors and his sophisticated palate for wine and beer will figure prominently on our menu as well. As we continue to move the restaurant’s concept forward in its second decade, I am excited about collaborating with Terence to reinvent and refresh Fork’s new American bistro style cuisine. Welcome Terence!

I invite you all to join us at Fork to wish Thien a final farewell. I highly encourage you to make a reservation during these final days of Restaurant Week, which ends January 30. The three-course menu is one of the last opportunities to enjoy Thien’s outstanding cooking before his retirement.