Chef change at Cork: Rob Weland, the talented if low-lying chef who guided the 14th Street wine bar to a three-star ranking in our February survey of the area’s top restaurants, will be leaving after dinner service tonight, according to Khalid Pitts, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Diane Gross.
The parting is mutual, says Pitts, adding that he and Gross hope to partner with Weland on his next venture.
“When Rob came aboard,” Pitts says, “it was with a clear understanding that in three to five years he would open his own place.”
The new chef will be Kristin Hutter, who has run the kitchen at Cork Market since its inception in 2009, and will now oversee both kitchens. Hutter has worked in the kitchens at Citronelle, Clio in Boston, and Black Market Bistro.
Ron Tanaka, the founding chef at Cork, will return for a couple of months to assist Hutter and ease the transition before his new Shaw restaurant opens in June.
Among the expected changes, Pitt says to look for more vegetarian dishes—plates of three or four ingredients “that really express the season.” Hutter also will bring back the restaurant’s popular tomato bruschetta.
Weland, in the meantime, is heading to Italy for a few weeks with his wife, but insists that it is not a research trip and that his new project, long in the planning, is not Italian. “I’m going to be vague about it, because there’s so much that’s still up in the air,” he says. “But I can’t wait.”
“We’d love to do something with Rob,” Pitts says. “I hope it works out.”
At the very least, expect Weland to debut the new venture at Cork Market in a series of pop-ups.