David Chrystian - the mercurial chef who already has 12 listings on www.chefdb.com even though he's barely into his 30s - is leaving the Drake Hotel . After winning the latest NOW Readers Poll for best new restaurant and placing third in our year-end critic's picks, Chrystian is moving on in mid-January. "Mostly for personal reasons," he says, explaining his sudden and unexpected departure from the hip hot spot. "I've decided to take a month - or six - to spend on myself. One of my plans is to write a book, more a novel then a cookbook, but certainly related to the cooking life."
Filling these considerable culinary clogs will be Grant Parry , Chrystian's long-time right-hand man slash sous since their Patriot days.
Drake poobah Jeff Stober says that although several big names expressed interest in taking over the hotel's food program - not just overseeing the dining room and lounge, but the café, year-round rooftop Sky Yard and room service to boot - the job was taken.
"Grant's been with us since day one," explains Stober, "and the decision was really simple for us. David concurred that Grant is at the moment in his career when he's ready to be in the executive position. It allows us to continue the legacy and promote our team of fabulous young chefs. And we're excited for David. He's truly gifted."
Win win, as they say.