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Well, lots has happened since last we checked in. Kitchen gossip has been flooding over our transom and under our door, much as we tried to block it out. First — and most annoyingly—Lejends in Yonkers has closed its doors, apparently the day after we mentioned them in last week’s blog. To be honest, this was not unexpected. All along, there were rumors that the restaurant was having difficulty establishing a regular customer base, and we did notice a quietude in the Lejends dining room of late. We’ll miss you, Lejends—especially your stellar chicken and waffles, and your sinus-clearing, house-made ginger beer.

We were also not surprised to learn that Chef Greg Gilbert has left Emily Shaw’s Inn at Pound Ridge. Sadly, we have a history with this establishment. We took a certain amount of guff from Emily Shaw’s owners after writing a negative review of the restaurant in Westchester Magazine. Emily Shaw’s new owners felt that we’d reviewed the restaurant too soon after its opening, and claimed that the published review was essentially unfair. However–we stood firm against this accusation. In order to print a review while a restaurant opening is still newsworthy, we need to visit restaurants in the 2 1/2-months-after-opening zone. (Why? Because visits sooner than 2 1/2 months after opening rarely reflect the experience of the mature restaurant.) While we like to wait as long as possible for a restaurant to get its legs, we still have a responsibility to our readers – and publishing reviews at about 3 months after opening is SOP in food writing.

Reportedly, Emily Shaw’s business has been suffering since opening and there is no news yet on where Chef Gilbert will turn up next, though Chef Gilbert’s name has been thoroughly expunged from the restaurant’s website. Not surprising, no one from the restaurant has returned our calls…

Fans of Maureen Stepp’s fabulous baked goods at Purdy’s Homestead will be shocked to learn that the restaurateur has vamoosed rather suddenly. (So suddenly that it’s rumored that even their purveyors were surprised.) The good news is that this quaint, 18th-century farmhouse (and all of its cozy fireplaces) will still be operating as a restaurant — look for the newly christened Jean-Michael’s at Purdy’s Homestead. Chef-spotters will remember Jean-Michael Hamlet from his stint at that other 18th century homestead, Peter Pratt’s Inn in Yorktown. Hamlet is planning a “New European” menu – we’re curious to see what that means.

And here’s one that’s near and dear to our hearts: Chef Brady Duhane was let go from our favorite local inoteca, Nessa. We fell in love with this talented, ex-Bouley, ex- Picholine, ex-Park Avenue Café chef’s heartbreakingly tender gnocchi and soulful mashed potatoes, and we’re sorry to see him go. It’s got to be tough being a hired gun in what is essentially the Tessitore family kitchen, plus, the restaurant’s rampant success (and the demands that it engendered) must have made Nessa a tough gig. On the other hand, the Tessitore family has a responsibility to their loyal customers — and it was a bit tough getting Nessa’s food to customers in reasonable time. Alberto Guzman, Duhane’s former sous-chef, will be taking over as Nessa’s Exec Chef. There are no major menu changes foreseen in the near future—which is good, because we love the Nessa menu.

Thoughts or comments? Send us your feedback at comments@westchestermagazine.com.

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