Major Chef Change

Chef who vowed to create "best bakery in America" in Houston departs in shocking move

Founding chef departs Houston's best bakery in shocking move

18 Common Bond May 2014 Roy Shvartzapel
Common Bond co-founder Roy Shvartzapel is leaving to "pursue other opportunities." Photo by Eric Sandler
Common Bond bakery Jillian Bartolome
Jillian Bartolome will replace Shvartzapel.  Photo by Kimberly Park
Common Bond chefs and owners
Other members of the Common Bond team, including David Morgan (right of Bartolome) and Drew Gimma (right of Morgan) also remain. Photo by Dragana A. Harris
18 Common Bond May 2014 Roy Shvartzapel
Common Bond bakery Jillian Bartolome
Common Bond chefs and owners

In a move that's sure to be greeted with surprise throughout Houston's culinary community, bakery/cafe Common Bond has announced that co-founder and executive chef Roy Shvartzapel will depart the restaurant to "pursue other opportunities."

Executive sous chef Jillian Bartolome has been promoted to replace Shvartzapel. Other members of the Common Bond culinary team, including chef de cuisine David Morgan, chef boulanger Drew Gimma and bread sous chef Tony Stein will remain in place.

"We are delighted for Jillian and our team, and believe that their skills, dedication and passion for both savory and pastry cuisine will continue to shine at Common Bond, as they have from day one. We wish Roy all the best in his future endeavors," said Common Bond partners Brad Sanders and Kathy Sanders in a statement.

Shvartzapel declined a request to comment on his decision beyond to say that he will remain in place until March 8 and then move to New York City with his family.

When he announced Common Bond in 2013, the chef memorably said he intended for it to become "the best bakery in America." While it may not have risen to that lofty height yet, it has been a runaway success in its first year; even during the week, diners frequently line up for the signature croissants, breads and other pastries.

Common Bond would seem to be in good hands despite Shvartzapel's decision. The chef recruited Bartolome, Morgan, Gimma and Stein for the project.