Thursday, August 18, 2011

Can He Bounce Back?!

Chef James Toland of The Black Sheep. (Photo: Lorenzo Tassone)

The troubles plaguing the The Black Sheep have been well documented by Eater Chicago.

The West Town restaurant has only been open for about a couple of months, but it quickly became known more for its drama behind the scenes than for the food. THAT is not a good thing.

But James Toland, chef/owner of TBS, insisted in a recent interview with Chicago magazine's Dish that all is good on the homefront:

"Let me put to rest any rumors that might be circulating. I am the owner, and my investors are 100 percent behind me. We had one night of closure because of the walkout. And that’s it. . . . I had to cut salaries in my kitchen. My staff was too large. So I had to cut middle management, which meant that I had to let go (the executive sous-chef) Philip Rubino and Sarah Jordan, my pastry chef. . . . When that happened, my cooks were displeased and decided they would leave too. So I replaced them all and brought in a brand-new kitchen staff. . . .(In one day,) I grabbed a few people from Tribute and got some people off the street by advertising. . . . I have five new cooks, and I'm also doing the pastries with my cooks. We have a lot of talent in the kitchen, so we are all pitching in on the pastries. . . . (The kitchen staff was) ten before, and now I have seven, plus myself. . . . I have increased the portion sizes and dropped some prices (by about 20 percent)."

We will see very soon if he can back up all this talk with the food . . .

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