General manager and sommelier Matthew Carroll quit today from Rogue 24, chef R.J. Cooper’s pricey high-concept restaurant dedicated to modernist tasting menus. Carroll follows pastry chef Chris Ford, who went rogue himself and quit Cooper’s employ in September.
Carroll e-mailed this afternoon to say:
“I just wanted to reach out to let you know that I’ve just resigned from Rogue 24. I wish the restaurant well, but it was not a good fit.”
He added: “I hope to have the opportunity to serve you in the future!”
Carroll, who left his position at 2941 as wine director and sommelier to join Rogue 24, did not respond to an e-mail for further elaboration.
When reached by phone, Cooper was surprised that Carroll contacted the press; the chef said that his former GM had signed a confidentiality agreement not to talk about his employment at Rogue 24. Regardless, Cooper echoed Carroll’s statement: “It was not a good fit,” the chef said.
“It was not a surprise,” Cooper added. “He’s an extremely talented sommelier. He’ll be a great asset with someone with a large [wine] cellar. ...We don’t have a large cellar. We’re very confident with what we do with our [wine and cocktail] pairings. That’s what we do.”
Cooper said that service director J.P. Featherston, a former employee of the Columbia Room under Rogue 24 consultant Derek Brown, would assume some of Carroll’s duties. “We’re trying to make service better for our guests and make the experience better for our guests,” Cooper said. The Rogue partners, the chef added, want “to find the best leaders to excel at the level I’m looking for.”
Others, including at least one server and another line cook, have left left Rogue 24, too. Despite the defections, Cooper said he planned to carry on with the all-tasting menu concept.
“People are loving it,” the chef said. “We’re making a lot of people very happy....We’re not going to change what we’re doing.”