One of this year's highest-profile new restaurants has parted ways with its executive chef. Jason Gould is no longer leading the kitchen at The Original Ninfa's Uptown Houston, CultureMap has learned.
Jonathan Horowitz, CEO of Ninfa's owner Legacy Restaurants, provided the following statement in response to CultureMap's request for comment:
"Jason is an excellent chef, and he was instrumental in getting Ninfa’s Uptown Houston open and operating. We are working hard to recreate the food, service and experience of the Original Ninfa's at the new location," Horowitz said. "To that end, we are bringing more employees from Navigation to Uptown — including executive chef Alex Padilla, sous chef Adan Vasquez, and several other Original Ninfa's veterans. We certainly appreciate all of Chef Jason’s contributions and wish him the best in the future."
Legacy hired Gould in January to serve as the chef for the restaurant it opened in June. He brought a wealth of experience to the role, including leading the kitchen at acclaimed Montrose restaurant Gravitas and as the corporate executive chef for Cyclone Anaya's Mexican Kitchen. Gould politely declined CultureMap's request to comment on the circumstances surrounding his leaving Ninfa's or his future plans.
Still, the sudden departure seems unexpected. One clue might be the restaurant's low rating on Yelp, a disappointing two-and-a-half stars. Hopefully, Padilla and his team can get the restaurant back on track.