Dallas chef Kent Rathbun has resigned from Kent Rathbun Concepts, the restaurant company he founded in 2009. According to a statement from his partner Bill Hyde, Rathbun will relinquish his day-to-day activities to pursue other avenues of interest, but he will remain part of the company.
"We are currently exploring his new role and welcome his continued engagement for the benefit of our guests, staff, and company," Hyde says. "We are extremely proud of the culinary talent we have placed in each restaurant and look forward to continuing to serve our valued guests."
Hyde, who previously worked with Ruth's Chris Steak House, took over after Rathbun's original partner, Robert Hoffman, died in 2006. The company has six restaurants, including Abacus; Hickory in Plano; and four branches of Jasper's, in Plano, Richardson, Austin, and the Woodlands. It also runs the Kitchen at 6130, a catering operation in Preston Center, in the former Blue Plate Kitchen space.
As noted on Escape Hatch, Christopher Patrick was recently promoted to the top chef position at Abacus, and the other restaurants had chefs in place. Rathbun says he felt like it was time to venture off and do something else. "I'm excited and want our team at the restaurant group to succeed and excel," he says.
One of Dallas' best-known chefs, Rathbun was nominated as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southwest in 1999, 2002, 2003, and 2004. He has appeared on numerous TV shows, including the Food Network's Chef du Jour, Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, Ready Set Cook, the CBS Early Show, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, and NBC’s Today Show. In 2008, he competed on Food Network’s hit series Iron Chef America, where he beat Bobby Flay.
He and his wife, Tracy Moore Rathbun, are working on the reopening of Chelsea Corner, the famed Uptown bar from the '80s, in partnership with Len Critcher, owner of The Tavern.
"We're planning on opening in September," Tracy says. "They are swinging hammers, and we are working on the menu. We're having some fun with it. I think people can reinvent themselves and move on."