Le Cirque Is Looking for a New Chef Featured

Authors: nytimes Diners Journal

Le Cirque Is Looking for a New ChefEvan Sung for The New York Times

Sirio Maccioni, the longtime co-owner of Le Cirque, said Thursday that the venerable Midtown restaurant was planning to hire a new executive chef to replace Olivier Reginensi, who started in January. “He is a very good chef and he is still in the kitchen,” said Mr. Maccioni, who owns the restaurant with his sons. “But he knows that we are looking for a replacement.”

In a brief telephone interview, Mr. Maccioni said people had advised him to change chefs in the wake of a review in The New York Times on Sept. 19, in which Pete Wells gave Le Cirque one star. The last time The Times had reviewed the restaurant, in 2008, Frank Bruni gave it three stars.

“He’s a much bigger chef than one star, but that’s how it is in New York,” Mr. Maccioni said of Mr. Reginensi. “It’s a very painful thing for me to do.” At the moment, Mr. Maccioni said, he and his sons do not have any particular replacement in mind. They are not planning any other changes in the restaurant, he said.

According to a biographical sketch on Le Cirque’s Web site, Mr. Reginensi was born and raised in Martigues in the South of France. He apprenticed at Provençal restaurants including Abbaye de Sainte Croix and L’Escale in Carry-le-Rouet, where his family owns a brasserie called the GM. After stints in several Michelin-starred French kitchens, he worked at Le Cirque in 1993 as chef de partie under the chef Sylvain Portay. And after working in San Francisco, he returned to New York in 2000 to join Alain Ducasse’s team at the Essex House. Mr. Reginensi has also worked as sous-chef at Daniel.

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