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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nate Appleman Celebrates 30th Birthday By Leaving A16 and SPQR

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Nate Appleman
  • Nate Appleman

Nate Appleman was ebullient and accurate about his chances to win the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year ("a chef 30 years or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come") when SFoodie talked to him a couple of months ago: "Being nominated three times, I just think it's my year."

And he was happy to comment a few weeks later when we asked the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association-certified pizzaiolo how he felt about GQ's Alan Richman naming A16's romana pie one of the 25 Best in the US: "It made me very happy."

But Appleman, who turned 30 last week, hasn't gotten back to us since announcing his departure from A16 and SPQR for, well, something else.

Co-owner Shelley Lindgren took a moment from her plans to open a branch of A16 in Tokyo on September 3 -- "Beth Ann Simpkins will be moving there and helping with operations in the kitchen. Jane Tseng and Liza Shaw [co-chef since January at A16, now chef] will also be going to help chef Toyoshima with setting up the kitchen and the menu. Toyoshima and Koko Kuwazoe were here training at A16 for the month of June" --  to assure us that all was well at SPQR also, with Christopher Behr remaining as chef de cuisine, and Hugh Thornton as executive sous-chef. (Please don't change the fried sweetbreads, chicken livers, and brussels sprouts!)  Although she allowed, "Yes, it's been an interesting week."

After all, it's not the first time they've survived a change in chefs. Before Nate took over at the stoves, there was Christopher Hille, the founding chef, who left in 2006. 

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Meredith Brody

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