The summer's surprising saga of former Spinasse/Vespolina chef Jason Stratton going to work as Mamnoon's GM just gained a new plot twist: Per a release today, Stratton will now be the restaurant's executive chef, overseeing both the kitchen and the dining room. Though his agenda sounds much the same as it was before: "menu development and the expansion of new offerings including brunch, which will commence at the end of September."
Though Stratton built his reputation on Italian food, he's always been a student of all things Mediterranean (witness: his Spanish menu at Aragona). In the executive chef role he'll be working with Mamnoon's owners Wassef and Racha Haroun to apply those interests to Mamnoon's Middle Eastern menu, collaborating particularly with Racha, an avid home cook.
And, hooray—Carrie Mashaney will come on as pastry chef, no small role considering Mamnoon's mana'eesh and various breads and crackers, not to mention the actual desserts. The restaurant's original chef Garrett Melkonian has a pastry background, and it shows. Melkonian is busy working with the Harouns on some mysterious upcoming projects. Longtime executive sous chef Jimi Treen had served as interim chef de cuisine, but is moving on to another job.
Mashaney was Stratton's longtime lieutenant at Spinasse and then Aragona and ultimately Vespolina before going on maternity leave...not to mention one of our Next Hot Chefs of 2013. Another homie from Stratton's Spinasse days, David Gurewitz, took over the exec sous role earlier this summer.