The sudden departure comes as something of a surprise, because Jones' two-year stint at Monarch had provided the chef with some stability after a turbulent period in which he departed from Beaver's, Xuco Xicana and Concepción in quick succession. While he may have been out of the media spotlight at Monarch, the restaurant did tout his presence in the kitchen and use his popularity with diners as a way to promote the restaurant.
In a text message to CultureMap, Jones characterized the word of his resignation as premature. "I am still employed here and wish to be in a comfortable environment," he wrote.
One restaurant industry insider immediately speculated that Jones was jumping to highly-anticipated new restaurant Museum Park Cafe, but owner Christopher Balat tells CultureMap that Jones is not the still unnamed chef who will run his restaurant's kitchen.
No word on what's next for Monarch, although banquet chef Jeff Axline, formerly of Brooklyn Athletic Club, could be a possible short term fill-in.
Update: Now Monarch reps tell CultureMap that Jeff Axline will replace Jones as Monarch's new executive chef on a full-time basis.
"Jeff is the perfect person in the role of top chef at Hotel ZaZa,” Z Resorts executive vice president Matthew Nuss said in a statement. “Jeff has an amazing reputation in Houston and has cooked incredibly for some of the highest profile galas and weddings in Houston.
"We have no doubt he will continue building on Hotel ZaZa’s great culinary foundation garnering further exposure for Monarch with hotel guests and locals alike."