Memphis chef takes over Sweet T’s kitchen

Richey departs, Mac Edwards arrives

Sweet T's Fried Chicken in Santa Rosa

Mac Edwards
Mac Edwards

It’s a barbeque coup at Sweet T’s in Santa Rosa.

Opening Chef Doug Richey is out at the recently-opened and highly-anticipated barbecue eatery. Though the restaurant is barely a month old, the honeymoon was over between owners Dennis and Ann Tussey and Richey even before the first rack of ribs hit the tables and it seemed a matter of time before hung up his apron at the restaurant.

Huge news, however,  is his replacement — Memphis chef Mac Edwards of The Elegant Farmer. Owner Ann Tussey said Edwards, who has been feted as a top player in the Memphis food scene, is “the current executive chef” of the restaurant, leaving the day-to-day operations of his Memphis restaurant to his staff. Edwards arrived Wednesday, just a day after Richey’s departure.

Chef Doug Richey, copyright Heather Irwin,
Doug Richey

“He’s a friend of mine,” said Tussey. She adds that the basic gist of the menu at Sweet T’s won’t change up significantly — barbecue and fried chicken will still be staples, but that Edwards would be bringing his own Southern touches to the restaurant.  She wouldn’t comment on the firing of Richey, but said, “Consistency is really important to me. He (Edwards) really knows the true flavors of the South.”

Richey had been the closing chef at the former Santi (which Sweet T’s replaced) and spent months staging and studying the art of barbecue throughout the south with the Tussey’s.

When reached for comment, Richey was mum on the exact details of his send-off, but said, “I would like to thank Sonoma County for their support. I was blown away by how many people came out to eat the past few weeks, and I am glad to have met so many wonderful people in the process. Thank you.”

You can bet that’s not the last we’ll hear of Richey ’round these parts.