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Chef de Cuisine Justin Basye Departing Stella Sola

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It's a day for kitchen shakeups across Houston.

First came the news from the Houston Chronicle that Michael Kramer is ending his partnership with The Tasting Room. And now, Justin Basye has also announced that he's leaving Stella Sola after a year and a half of exceptional cooking as the restaurant's chef de cuisine (as well as day-to-day man-in-charge) and a James Beard Award nomination.

This afternoon, I received a call from Bryan Caswell, one of the co-owners of Stella Sola, informing me that Basye had just put in his two weeks notice, as it were. It's wholly amicable, as far as these things go, but Caswell called it "a bittersweet situation." I agree.

Basye is leaving not for any one kitchen in particular, but to stage and work at places like Revival Market -- the market shares his affinity for charcuterie, after all -- and how can you blame a young chef for wanting to grow and develop his skills even further?

"It's been a real pleasure to watch him in the past year and a half," Caswell said. "He's really progressed in that time."

On the other hand, Caswell is just as excited about Basye's replacement, Adam Dorris. Dorris might be most familiar to our readers as part of the two-man team behind the popular Ghetto Dinners that were once held at Grand Prize Bar.

Caswell commented on the pool of great, young talent that Houston has in abundance, Dorris being just one of the many up-and-comers who'll likely be making names for themselves in coming years. "I just hope they keep their heads on straight, like Justin has always done," Caswell chuckled.

And while it's certainly sad to see a talented chef leave one of your favorite restaurants, at least I know now to always trust my sources, many of whom had been saying for months that Basye's departure from Stella Sola was imminent.

I wish him luck, and can't wait to see where he pops up next.


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