As CultureMap first reported yesterday, Grant Gordon has decided to step down as executive chef of both Tony's and the recently opened Vallone's steakhouse in Gateway Memorial City. This announcement comes just a week after Eater reported that Vallone's beverage director, Evan Turner, is also leaving to pursue other options, possibly opening a restaurant of his own.
Turner has already been replaced by Eric Blokkum, formerly of Vic & Anthony's.
Gordon's last night at Vallone's is tonight, and he says he's looking forward to having some time off.
"Career-wise, I'm going to take my time and weigh all of my options, but I hope to remain in Houston," Gordon says.
He does have some interesting short-term plans, though.
"I've been asked by the U.S. Department of State to travel to the Philippines as part of a culinary diplomacy program, which I will do in late February. I'm pretty excited," he said.
Tony Vallone said the split was amicable, and had nothing but kind words about his protégé.
"He'll do well," Vallone says. "And I wish him well. He's a very talented chef."
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Gordon, for his part, won't forget where he came from.
"It was an extremely difficult decision," he says. "Mr. Vallone taught me the true meaning of work ethic and to always put the guest first. I will never forget my time there, but it's time for me to move on."
Gordon has been with Tony's since 2009, where he started as a cook and worked his way up to executive chef. Last year, it was announced that Gordon and Scott Sulma, the then general manager of Tony's, would open the new Vallone's Steakhouse.
We initially wondered if Gordon would be satisfied cooking steaks, seafood and big plates of pasta at Vallone's, as opposed to the elevated fine-dining cuisine at Tony's. Regardless of why Gordon has made the decision to leave, we hope he keeps his talent here in Houston.