So Long, Sola: Gould out at Stella
2009 just isn't Jason Gould's year. After a much-publicized rift and departure from Gravitas in August, he was tapped as chef and managing partner at Stella Sola, Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd's new Texas/Tuscan concept in the former Bedford digs. But just days into the soft opening, Gould announced via his Twitter on Saturday that he had been ousted once again. "Bad news—no longer with Stella Sola!! Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!!"
"It's really, really unfortunate. I've been in the business a long time, and the meeting with Jason on Friday was one of the most downright depressing things I've done," says Floyd. "We brought Jason in specifically after the business with Gravitas, but as we started getting closer to opening we noticed some stylistic and management-style differences, and Bryan just didn't feel comfortable with them. It's nothing against Jason, and we wish him the best."
Gould expressed his disappointment to Alison Cook via email. "I put my life into the restaurant from day one. I can't stress that enough. I had no idea that there were any problems and was completely blindsided to be told that I was no longer a partner at 3 pm on a Friday night right before mock service and just days away from opening. I was willing to do whatever it took to make the restaurant a success. Unfortunately that wasn't enough."
Caswell will take over duties as executive chef, with Justin Basye—previously at Voice, with stints at Blue Hill and August on his résumé—stepping up as chef de cuisine. "Justin is the most talented guy in the city when it comes to charcuterie, and he has that passion for local products that we want to emphasize at Stella Sola," says Floyd.
Caswell, Floyd and Basye are collaborating on an updated menu, with mock service continuing on Tuesday and Wednesday and opening night on Thursday (Nov. 12).