Laurent Branlard, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort chef who is the only person to have won the World Pasty Team Championship twice, has opened his first full-service restaurant.
The bad news is it’s in Chicago.
The restaurant, LB Bistro & Patisserie is in the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, which, like the Swan & Dolphin, is a Tishman Hotel Corporation property. (Also like the Swan & Dolphin, the Sheraton Chicago has a Shula’s Steak House.)
The restaurant, which will be a three-mealer, is something of a reward for Branlard in recognition of his achievements as an internationally recognized pastry chef. Technically, he is listed as a consultant for the project, although the LB initials in the name are his.
Even though the restaurant is in Chicago, I see this as a positive thing. It’s a first, actually. We have several restaurants owned by acclaimed chefs here in Orlando, including Norman’s (Norman Van Aken); Emeril’s and Tchoup Chop (Emeril Lagasse); Chefs de France (Paul Bocuse and Roger Verge); Primo (Melissa Kelly); and Todd English‘s bluezoo (though I’m not sure English knows he has a restaurant here). But this is the first time one of Orlando’s celebrated chefs has been tapped to open a restaurant in another city.
So kudos to Branlard, and here’s hoping he lets everyone in Chicago know he’s still the executive pastry chef at the Swan & Dolphin.
Oh, and speaking of Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, there’s encouraging news. Greg Richie, former executive chef at Roy’s, has been hired on to head Lagasse’s troubled restaurant at the Pacific Resort. Richie tells me he’s been given free range to make any changes he wants. Can’t wait to see what he does.