So why is he leaving the kitchen? “It’s been very rewarding, and it’s hard to walk away. But I spent most of my twenties working hard, while most of my peers were in college or traveling. It seemed now is the moment for me.”
The large clogs left by Olson are being filled by Mallory Staley, a Frederick native who has worked at several restaurants in Manhattan, including the James Beard Award-winning Lever House. She’s arriving directly from the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room Restaurant, where she has led the pastry program since 2009.
On paper, she and Olson have many similarities: They’re both young, formally trained chefs who’ve prepared whimsical desserts for very traditional dining rooms. Take the pumpkin doughnuts and mini ice-cream cones on the Oak Room menu, for example. Olson says he was impressed by her skills and that she shares Giusti’s vision for the restaurant.
As for Olson, the only desserts he’ll be making in the near future may be campfire s’mores. Expect to see him back in the kitchen eventually, though.
“I’m holding off on making any strong plans,” Olson says. “I want to take time to reflect.”
Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter
Follow the Best Bites Bloggers on Twitter at twitter.com/bestbitesblog