Balliceaux is undergoing a change of command in the kitchen with a new chef, Michael McClure, taking over for Russell Cook, whose last day on the job was Sept. 2.
Cook, who had been with the Fan district restaurant since it opened in August 2009, says he is pursuing a career in culinary instruction, but the details of that are still being worked out.
A nominee for Richmond magazine’s Elby award for “chef of the year” in 2012, Cook is known for working with local, seasonal ingredients and drawing inspiration from a variety of cooking traditions.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many talented chefs,” he says, adding that he did not train in one particular style. “A good amount of my cuisine, or my cooking, is born out of curiosity,” Cook says. He adds that he’s used “a sprinkling of styles with an emphasis on farm-to-fork and not making it too serious – keeping it playful.”
Balliceaux owner Steve Gratz says, “Russell did a great job for us. I was very happy with the food. I wish him the best.”
McClure, who started right after Labor Day, is taking a couple of weeks to get acclimated to the restaurant before making changes, Gratz says, adding that the new chef is working on a fall menu and looking at adding some more vegan menu items.
McClure, who is from the Washington-Baltimore area, has a background in French cooking and has worked locally at Chez Max, Bistro Bobette and The Track (now home to Bonvenu), Gratz says.
“This is a style of restaurant that he fits in well with,” Gratz says. “We’re both on the same page with continuing a creative bistro style.”