Shakeup at Talula’s Garden

Meal Ticket is reporting that the highly regarded Michael Santoro is out as chef at Talula’s Garden. Santoro came to Aimee Olexy’s urban garden restaurant after stints at Washington D.C.’s Blue Duck Tavern, Fat Duck in England and Mugaritz in Spain.

Santoro told Meal Ticket he left “due to differences in menu development.”

This isn’t the only kitchen machination in the Talula’s universe. Chris D’Ambro who was a sous chef at Talula’s Garden from the opening is now the Executive Chef at Talula’s Table, taking over for Chef Matt Moon, Talula’s Table’s chef since Bryan Sikora left.

Michael Santoro out at Talula’s Garden [Meal Ticket]

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  • Buckethead

    “I left Talula’s due to differences in menu development,”


    “I will be looking to open my own space sometime early next year.”


  • Anthony

    He is from Ohio and worked all over. Is he opening his new place here?

  • lonna don

    wtf really. This kid has serious talent! They were on their way to great things. Why do we need a 10 out of the gate? Its so unrealistic. If he leaves the city, heads are gonna role…im not sure who’s though yet. I really thought there was somthing special going on there, it just needed some more time to reach its potential. Life sucks. Im going to go eat a gallon of ice cream and remember my last meal their. Do softshells and ice cream go together?

  • afterdinnesneeze

    I am made a little sad by this. I wonder who’ll be in next … ?

  • ENOC – Don Tanblock

    How hard must Amy be to work with if Chef’s keep leaving and her husband left her? Sheesh.

  • ENOC – Don Tanblock

    sorry, spellcheck… Aimee

  • rory

    not remotely unsurprising for a starr restaurant. First chefs in Starr places often depart 3-6 months after opening (Parc, for example), especially if Laban’s review isn’t a great one. I wouldn’t be surprised if that review was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    ENOC–that’s a tad bit of a personal attack, no? I mean, what happens with a marriage is a bit different from a chef leaving a restaurant. besides, i’ve heard the opposite…

  • lilpit

    I agree, Rory. Wouldn’t be surprised if Santoro was “leaving”, not leaving. If you know what I mean.

  • Buckethead


    sorry, spellcheck… MORON,

    what happened between Bryan and Aimee isn’t exactly a secret, if you knew what it was you would not have made that idiotic statement.

  • Anon

    Disclaimer: I worked at Talulas and Django and adore Aimee and Bryan.
    Buckethead + Rory.

    AGREED ! But You can’t exactly blame nitwits like ENOC when foobooz throws ham into the lions den by suggesting that Brian Sikora “left” even though their parent magazine used that low life write Farnz Liss or whatever his name is to write a fictional story about how Aimee’s marital problems were discovered. The buzz is some of these comments are also “internally” generated to create controversy. Foobooz turned into yelp after Art sold it. Worst decision ever but money talks and integrity runs the marathon. Back on topic Santoro is talented and will rebound and lets’s not forget Talulas Garden is a Starr Restaurant and no one get’s replaced at SRO without Stephen Starr.

  • Anon, too

    ENOC – A job is a job is a job. People leave every position in every line of work every day. Doesn’t mean anyone is hard to work with or work for. Super sad to see Santoro go but – c’est la vie.

    ANON – The list of folks who worked at Talula’s AND Django is short. VERY short. I don’t buy it.

  • Country Cooking

    Chef Santoro is tweeting about what he’s been up to. mikesantoro1

  • 4bellalumniclub

    I know Aimee very well and have met Stephen a few times but do not know him. The food at the garden never got better. It was overworked and under-seasoned. WTF? LaBan called it like he saw it. I am sure Aimee will find someone very competent who knows how to use salt and butter to run the Garden. But what about Talula’s table and hiring the TG Sous. Something tells me Talula’s Table will be going down hill fast. I love the simple, well prepared food and that is what TG needs and TT needs to continue. I have a reservation at TT next month and I pray it is not filled with overworked BS.

    Bryan Sikora is still an asshole

  • foodie77077

    good luck Matt