There's a new chef team at Uchi Dallas and Uchibā, the upscale Asian restaurants on Maple Avenue from Hai Hospitality/celebity chef Tyson Cole: Chef James Daversa is the new Chef de Cuisine and Rhonda McCullar is Executive Sous Chef.
In their new roles, Daversa will lead the kitchens of both restaurants with support from McCullar, who will focus on the direction of Uchibā.
They replace chef Alex Astranti, who is moving to Denver to work with chef-restaurateur Alex Seidel.
According to a release, Daversa and McCullar have both been with Hai for several years.
Daversa studied culinary arts at Monroe College in New York and worked at a number of restaurants in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant The Mark and Catch NYC, where he worked under Top Chef Season 3 winner and Executive Chef Hung Huynh. He left Catch from Los Angeles in 2017 to join Uchi Dallas as sous chef, was named Executive Sous Chef in 2018, and moved upstairs to Uchibā, Uchi’s sister restaurant and bar concept.
McCullar is a native of Ennis who was previously a science teacher. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Dallas in 2012, then worked at Marriott before an opportunity to stage at Uchi arose in 2015. She has some pretty stellar traits, according to the release: #1 She's into reducing and reusing kitchen food waste and looks for ways to incorporate unused ingredients in new dishes. #2 She's also a vegetarian with #3 a keen understanding of flavor profiles and an approach rooted in cooking science.
Hai Hospitality concepts include Uchi Austin, Uchi Dallas, Uchi Houston, Uchi Denver, Uchiko Austin, Uchibā Dallas, and Loro Asian Smokehouse and Bar, opening soon on Haskell Avenue in Dallas.