Young and Hungry

Richie Brandenberg Quietly Finds a Home at THINKfoodGROUP

Much like the "news" that IndeBleu has closed and that chef Michael Hartzer is apparently looking for work, this bit of information arrives with mold encrusted on its edges: Reston native Richie Brandenberg, former chef at Urbana in the Hotel Palomar, has found a comfortable gig inside José Andrés' ever-sprawling THINKfoodGROUP empire.

Apparently comfortable. I mean, Brandenberg has been with TFG since July 2008, which means the chef has held the job longer than the previous two gigs that I know about, including a job at the St. Andrews Country Club  in Boca Raton, Fla.

The only way I learned this "news" was by hearing the name "Richie Brandenberg" on the THINKfoodGROUP's automated phone directory. I asked Laura Trevino, TFG's public relations director, if it was the very same Richie Brandenberg who once led the kitchen at Urbana. She said it was. She also forwarded this brief description of what Brandenberg does with TFG:

Richie Brandenberg joined TFG in July 2008 and began assisting on special projects, including the opening of the SLS Hotel and The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Los Angeles. In 2009 Brandenberg became Kitchen Director of ThinkFoodGroup where he is responsible for the development and execution of culinary systems and standards for TFG restaurants and projects.

What this means is that Brandenberg assists the chefs at all THINKfoodGROUP restaurants, from Jaleo to Zaytinya, with their kitchen processes, organization, and recipe standardizations. Among other things, Brandenberg is helping chefs develop official recipe books, complete with standard measurements, for every TFG restaurant. You know, just in case Joe Raffa at Oyamel gets hit by a bus one day. God forbid.

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