Nicolas, who resigned over the Christmas holidays, cooked for 15 months at Equinox, which received a 1 1/2 star review from the Washington Post in October.
Gray says “a conflict of (management) style” and “culinary differences” led to the “mutual separation.” The restaurateur waited to announce the news until after the new year in order for him to “regain the kitchen and get things at Equinox back on path the way I’ve done for 13 years.”
Does he plan to anoint a new No. 2 in his kitchen? Gray, once again the executive chef, hopes to name “a chef de cuisine from the ranks, but I don’t know who yet.”
Nicolas was originally hired to free up her employer so Gray could focus on outside projects, including a cookbook co-authored with his wife and fellow restaurateur, Ellen Kassoff Gray. “The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes” (St. Martin’s Press) is due to be published in March.
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