Rising Star Fired

Rising star chef suddenly fired from a popular Montrose bar for a burger night dispute

Rising star chef suddenly fired from popular Montrose bar for burgers

Rishi Singh chef head shot Bar Boheme
Rishi Singh says he was fired from Boheme when he refused to introduce dishes that didn't meet his quality standards.  Photo by © Jenny Antill
Boheme Cafe and Wine Bar patio with crowd
Singh's innovative menu helped fill Boheme's patio.  Photo by © Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
23 Heather Heil and Jordan Economy at CultureMap's 2014 Tastemakers Awards May 2014
Sous chef Jordan Economy, right, will take over for Singh.  Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
Rishi Singh chef head shot Bar Boheme
Boheme Cafe and Wine Bar patio with crowd
23 Heather Heil and Jordan Economy at CultureMap's 2014 Tastemakers Awards May 2014

Sometimes a chef leaves a restaurant to pursue a new opportunity. Sometimes a chef leaves a restaurant because he or she needed a break from the daily grind of restaurant life.

Sadly, neither of those is what happened Monday night at Boheme, the popular Montrose bar known for its frozen mojitos and massive patio.

Chef Rishi Singh is suddenly out at Boheme for  a very different reason. The chef, a Tastemakers nominee for Best Rising Star Chef, had turned Boheme into a fun food destination thanks to a creative menu of globally-inspired flatbread pizzas and innovative specials delivered from a food truck parked out back.

 Singh says that when he told Holleman the burgers weren't ready, Holleman fired him.   

Singh tells CultureMap that Boheme owner Morgan Holleman asked him to turn Mondays into burger night and wanted a full menu of options to replace the bar's pizzas in only a few days time. "I let him know it would be very hard to do," Singh tells CultureMap, but he got to work, even testing some of the burgers during service Friday night. Still, on Monday, the chef didn't think the burgers were up to his quality standards for Boheme's food.

Singh says that when he told Holleman the burgers weren't ready, Holleman fired him. 

"I won’t serve subpar food and food that doesn’t meet my standards," Singh explains. "He wanted me to make it happen, but it’s not as easy as that."

Singh thinks that part of the problem stems from Holleman's lack of understanding about the limitations of running a food program from a truck. "It’s interesting the relationship between being the executive chef and having owners who don’t have experience in the kitchen or have never tried to understand the kitchen," Singh says. "Pizzas are our thing. Why do you all of a sudden want to do burgers?"

CultureMap contacted Holleman's representative for comment about Singh's departure but has yet to receive a response. 

Despite the circumstances of his departure, Singh says he feels good about his time at Boheme. "I wish them all the best," Singh says. "I don't hold any ill will . . . I want to be able to walk in there in a couple of weeks and have a drink."

As for the future of Boheme's food, Singh says that sous chef Jordan Economy has "been rocking it out. He has my full faith and support."

Singh's success at Boheme means he probably won't be unemployed for long. He's looking forward to whatever the future holds.

"I’m gonna miss making the pizzas, but that was such a small part of what I wanted to make," Singh says.

"I don’t have any regrets. I fucking kicked ass there."

Update: Boheme representative Dutch Small provided CultureMap with the following statement about Singh's departure. "Thank you. It was amazing. You did a great job. Let's all just go on to a brighter future."