Owners Tiffanee and Richard Ellman announced in a release that they've parted ways with chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin, calling it a "strategic ending ... that was best for the restaurant and the brand."
"I was going to quietly leave and let them do their business and wish them success," Thretipthuangsin says.
A spokesperson for the Ellmans hinted that Thretipthuangsin had been let go — a declaration that took Chef Eddy by surprise.
"I'm stunned and speechless that they put out a release and made it sound like that," he says. "I was going to quietly leave and let them do their business and wish them success. But they put me in the spot that if I'm standing still, people will believe they let me go, and that's not the case."
Thretipthuangsin moved to Dallas in part to helm the restaurant. His status as a native of Thailand combined with his training at Le Cordon Bleu made him an ideal candidate for Pakpao's merging of classical French technique with Thai flavors.
He says the Ellmans petitioned him for his recipes. "They said they want to keep the same menu," he says. According to the release, the Ellmans hope to expand the brand in 2014 as a "national authentic Thai destination."
As for Thretipthuangsin, he's staying in Dallas. "I have family here," he says. "But I have something in the works right now. It had nothing to do with what happened with Pakpao, but it's going to be unique, great and different."