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Posted at 03:49 PM ET, 10/07/2011

Watershed replaces its chef de cuisine

There are now new hands in the kitchen at Watershed. (Scott Suchman - FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Just five months after it set sail to mostly tepid applause, Watershed by Todd Gray has shed its chef de cuisine, Chris Kenworthy.

Gray, the veteran Washington chef who also owns Equinox downtown, confirmed the news earlier today. “Chris is a great guy,” his former boss said. “But the food he was doing was not the … style I set it out to be: simple shrimp and grits, simple gumbo.” Under Kenworthy, who came to the restaurant in the Hilton Garden Inn from the sleek Hook in Georgetown, the food had become too fancy and “manipulated,” says Gray.

He didn’t have to look far for a plug: Godofredo Vaquerano, his chef de cuisine at Equinox. “If there were a clone of me out there,” says Gray, “it would be Freddy,” who has worked with Gray for more than 11 years. “I need people who can lead,” says Gray, who is working on a cookbook with his wife, Ellen Kassoff Gray, and a restaurant project in the Dominican Republic.

Kenworthy left Watershed Tuesday. His replacement starts there Oct. 14.

So who will take over the kitchen at Equinox? Gray says a formal offer has been extended to a thirty-something female chef who once cooked at Gramercy Tavern in New York. He declines to announce her name because details are still being worked out, but he’s confident enough to report her start date: Oct. 14.

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