Wagshal’s hires former Ardeo chef as culinary director

February 27, 2011

Excerpted from the Going Out Gurus blog: voices.
washingtonpost.com/gurus:

EXEC TO OPS: As Tom Sietsema reported last month, former Ardeo executive chef Alex McWilliams didn’t stick around long after his restaurant merged with next-door sibling Bardeo. It didn’t take much time for him to land on his feet: The 40-year-old Culinary Institute of America graduate has been hired as director of culinary operations for the Wagshal’s concern in Spring Valley.

The transition for McWilliams has been smooth. As executive chef at Ardeo, he worked charity events with Wagshal’s and was already friends with owner Bill Fuchs. Developing that into an everyday working relationship seemed an easy next step.

“What really attracted me to this job was that they have a real passion for food and for doing the best they can with good food,” McWilliams says. “It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

His duties will extend into and beyond the kitchen as he seeks to support Wagshal’s well-established enterprises, such as the delicatessen and market, while growing the newer business ventures: specifically, Spring Valley Catering and Wagshal’s Importers. “We share a lot of the products between the deli, market and catering kitchen,” the chef explains, “and as things get bigger there is going to be a need for having systems and procedures in place to help with that.”

One strength McWilliams says he would like to exploit immediately is pastry chef Ganesh Rajamonickam . “He just does extraordinary cakes,” McWilliams says. “It would be nice to branch out.”

— Justin Rude

rudej@washpost.com

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