Sous chef Ryan Lachaine has left celebrated restaurant Underbelly. Lachaine has been with the restaurant since it opened and has been the second face of the restaurant alongside chef/owner Chris Shepherd. Although he's been in the industry fewer than five years, Lachaine has become one of Houston's most prominent sous chefs.
Lachaine came to Underbelly after working for chef Bryan Caswell at fine-dining Gulf Coast seafood restaurant Reef. Caswell told Eater that Lachaine is "Just a really fun guy, great guy to work with. Hard working that kid. Like old school hard working. They're hard to find nowadays...He's actually better than anyone I've ever had. I wish I had him back."
That endorsement helped Lachaine earn a place as one of 15 national members of the Eater Young Guns class of 2013, an award given to up-and-coming stars in the culinary world.
Clumsy Butcher, the group that owns Underbelly, Anvil and other properties around town, confirmed the move and issued the following statement. "We have nothing but great things to say about Ryan and his time at Underbelly. We have no further comment."
CultureMap could not reach Lachaine early Sunday morning for comment.
Although no one's willing to comment on what's next, expect Underbelly to conduct a nationwide search for Lachaine's replacement; that would be appropriate given its status as a highly-touted recipient of national awards. In the short-term, expect Clumsy Butcher culinary director Erin Smith to fill in for Lachaine on the Underbelly line.
Update: Lachaine provided the following statement to CultureMap about his plans. "I'm going to take a little time off. Hang out with my two-and-a-half year-old twin boys, be a dad. I'm looking forward to cooking at Indie Chefs Week at Foreign & Domestic in January. There's going to be some cool things happening in Houston in the new year, and I'm excited to be a part of them."