John Merlino, Jr. is the new director of culinary development at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, a 64-unit steakhouse chain headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif. Most recently working as an industry consultant, Merlino was the corporate executive chef and director of research & development at Claim Jumper Restaurants from 1996 to 2006.
Nicholas Elmi, former executive chef of the legendary Le Bec-Fin restaurant in Philadelphia is now executive chef of the new Rittenhouse Tavern in that city. A classically trained chef who also worked at Brasserie Perrier in Philadelphia as well as at Lutèce, Union Pacific and Oceana in New York City and Guy Savoy in Paris, Elmi said about his cooking: “It all goes back to finding the best product, applying proper technique, and treating your environment and profession with respect.”
Items on his new menu include deviled eggs with pork scrapple; wild striped bass with Tuscan kale, hedgehog mushrooms and hibiscus-red wine sauce; and quinoa-crusted Berkshire pork rack with crisp belly, purple mustard and endive.
Bill Sexton has been named executive chef of Phillips Seafood Baltimore, the chains’ flagship on that city’s inner harbor. A long-time Phillips veteran, sexton is the company’s former director of research & development.
Scott Jenkins is the new executive chef of Extra Virgin Restaurant in Arlington, Va. A former chef and food & beverage director at various Hilton Hotels, Jenkins is now following his philosophy of keeping food simple yet stylish, with dishes such as halibut served with garlic-lime butter, pressed and roasted Yukon gold potatoes and lemon asparagus; and Fontina ravioli with basil pesto.
Robert Tobin is the new chef of Aura restaurant and Tamo Bar and Lounge and Tamo Terrace in Boston. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and a former executive chef of Asia de Cuba in New York City, Tobin most recently consulted with chef David Burke in New York on the opening of David Burke Kitchen at the James Hotel New York.
Paul Joseph is the new executive chef at FireBird restaurant in New York City. The New Jersey native most recently served as chef de cuisine at Le Rendez Vous in Kenilworth, N.J. In his new position he's serving dishes such as house-cured gravlax with beets and lemongrass, filet and rack of lamb with a potato lardon cake, and caramelized root vegetables in Madeira-truffle reduction.
Chad Jajczyk has been promoted from chef de cuisine to executive chef of Ella's American Bistro in Wayne, Pa., where he’s making oatmeal-dusted sweetbreads with lobster mushrooms and stout demiglace, as well as butter-poached argentine pink shrimp and Alaskan king crab with butter dust.