No sooner did we wrap our head around the news that chef Nick Balla would be moving on from Mission izakaya Nombe by the end of the year, this morning comes news that Balla's replacement is Darwin's Vincent Schofield. From the press release:
Schofield will head the kitchen and partner up with husband- and wife-duo Gil Payne (Sake Sommelier) and Managing Culinary Director Mari Takahashi. Takahashi, just back from an extensive stay in Japan, will bring her Japanese flair to the kitchen as Schofield assumes his new role. Most recently at Darwin Café and Ebb & Flow, Schofield is familiar with San Francisco's restaurant scene. He's also well acquainted with Asian flavors having been Opening Executive Chef at Kabuki Kitchen.Couple of things. First, as a semi-regular at Darwin, we've noticed Schofield's absence from the teensy kitchen, or when he has been there, he's seemed distracted, hanging out on one of the counter stools once, chatting up customers. The last time he was AWOL altogether. And as two short stints suggest, Schofield is restless. Second, the partnership with Payne and Takahashi always struck us as potentially sticky, as it would be at any restaurant with both an "executive chef" and a "culinary director" (i.e., Takahashi). Schofield is said to be prepping for his Nombe gig with a trip to Japan. We wish him (and Balla, wherever he lands) the best of luck.