Quillec out at French Garden

Recent chef departs

Word travels fast in the local food world, and the hottest buzz this week is the departure of Patrick Quillec at the French Garden.

Quillec, who came on the scene about a year ago, seemed to be the chef that owner Dan Smith had been looking for. Repeatedly. Over the last several years, the Sebastopol eatery has been a revolving door of chefs who’s roster has included Mark Malicki, Didier Gerbi, Christophe Bony, and Peter Roelant.

Set to start this week in the kitchen is Arturo Guzman, a former Exec Sous Chef from Meadowood and Exec Chef at Dawn Ranch Lodge in Guerneville. Because of the restaurant’s recent positive reviews and uptick in business — reportedly the last four months were some of the restaurants best ever — Guzman had already been under consideration to assist Quillec in the kitchen. He will instead leapfrog to Exec Chef at the Garden.

So what happened? Conjecture is the rumored partnership stake in the restaurant that had been offered to Quillec if his tenure resulted in success. Though both Smith and Quillec indicated that the business relationship had been working several months ago, allegedly the two had different expectations which resulted in Quillec’s departure.

Smith tells BiteClub: “We appreciate very much that Patrick raised the bar at French Garden and wish him well. Patrick gave us the opportunity to take the next step forward, which we feel Arturo can now do with us. Arturo’s extensive experience in a larger, highly rated restaurant in the region will serve us well in many areas.

Our vision of Sonoma County Regional Cuisine remains unchanged as does our goal to attain Michelin star rating. In our view, this is one more step on that path. We have also launched a new farm to table website, frenchgardenfarm.com where we are selling our organic produce and fruits directly to consumers.”