Dish: Michel Richard, a man on the move

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

MAN ON THE MOVE: Racing to open Michel at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner in September, Michel Richard has tapped Levi Mezick to head up the kitchen of his first project in the Washington suburbs.

"I hope he's going to be a good help," says Richard, 62. Until recently, Mezick was executive chef at the Jockey Club in the Fairfax Hotel. He comes to Michel with strong credentials, having cooked at Oceana, Per Se, Daniel and Cafe Boulud, all in Manhattan.

Mezick, 34, is vacationing with his family in France. In August, says his new boss, "I'm going to work with him to show him the Michel Richard style."

But first, there's some work to do in the former Maestro space, which will be demolished beginning next week. Richard estimates it will cost $2 million to bring the 110-seat Michel to life in the upscale hotel. He describes the forthcoming modern French bistro as "more like Central than Citronelle," referring to his businesses downtown and in Georgetown, respectively. Among the attractions at Michel will be a sous-vide oven in the kitchen and a glass-enclosed wine cellar and small bar in the dining room.

Michel is one of several projects Richard is working on. Since February, the chef has been consulting for OpenSkies, the all-business-class subsidiary of British Airways. Then there's a brasserie in Washington that he describes as "Central with a big French accent." Though he was reluctant to discuss a location, he hinted that the yet-to-be-named establishment wouldn't be far from his flagship Citronelle.

Yet another idea would take his brand to New York City. "I hope they need me there," says the celebrity chef.

And we hope he doesn't forget about Washington.

-- Tom Sietsema

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