JOB SWITCHES: The muse behind the sweet somethings served at Circle Bistro, Dish and Notti Bianchi has just been tapped to play the same role at (insert drum roll here) Michel Richard Citronelle. Pastry chef Heather Chittum plans to start work at the acclaimed Georgetown restaurant on Monday.
"I couldn't be more flattered to become part of that team and to work with one of the best pastry chefs, and great culinary minds, in the country," the 32-year-old Chittum says, referring to her future boss, Michel Richard.
The restaurant returned the compliment. "She's got an awesome reputation," says maitre d' Mel Davis. Citronelle has been without a lead pastry chef since Emmanuel Vollmar left around Memorial Day for his native France.
Two people are taking over Chittum's former duties. Assistant pastry chef Amelia Beyna will assume responsibility for the desserts at Dish and Notti Bianchi, while Leigh Weinfield moves into the kitchen at Circle Bistro, which has a larger dining room than the other two venues and also handles catering. (All three properties are run by Potomac Hospitality Services.) No minor talent herself, Weinfeld comes to Washington from Baltimore, where she prepared desserts at the three-star Charleston restaurant for the past two years.
Eager as she is to take on a fresh challenge, Chittum is leaving her colleagues in the West End with "mixed emotions" -- understandable, given that one of them is her husband, Notti Bianchi chef Tony Chittum.
In addition to gaining a pastry chef, Citronelle is expanding its wine program. Head sommelier Mark Slater recently hired Brian Zipin, an alumnus of Cafe des Artistes in New York, to be his No. 2 in the dining room.