When reached by phone this afternoon to talk about his surprising departure from Poste Moderne Brasserie, chef Rob Weland chose his words carefully — even though he didn’t have a single negative thing to say about his former employer.
Was his departure the result of a change in operating philosophies? A mandate from the new owner of the Hotel Monaco, where Poste is located? Or the ubiquitous creative differences? Weland wouldn’t or couldn’t say.
“We split amicably,” Weland allows. “They’ve been very, very supportive...I needed to move on.”
You could say Rob Weland is a class act to the end.
His split from Poste ends a seven-year run with the restaurant, which, under Weland’s guidance, developed a reputation not only for its summer pig roasts but also for its jungle of outdoor fruit and vegetable plants and its green policies.
“I probably should be a farmer,” Weland says, sounding as if he were only half-joking.
Poste’s official announcement noted that Weland is leaving to “pursue other opportunities, including authoring a book around preserving seasonal flavors and sustainable gardening and cooking.” But the chef says he’s also trying to round up investment money — not easy in a down economy — to open his own restaurant, where he could continue gardening, cooking and hosting family-style pig roasts. Washington would be one of his prime locations for such a place.
“I love this city. It’s been great to me,” he says. “I’d love to continue what I am doing here.”
But should that dream not pan out immediately, Weland is open to working for someone else again — in Washington or some other city. He’s a chef, after all. He says he has to be flexible to stay in the business.