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Chris Newsome, initially appointed executive chef after winning the Top Chef-style contest, was quickly replaced by runner-up Rusty Holman. Holman left Eatonville this year after apparently confronting Shallal over an unpaid parking ticket and is now working the Fry Captain food truck. Holman’s replacement, Brie Morris, didn’t stick around long either, which means that Eatonville has been without an executive chef for awhile.
Garret Fleming has just been announced as Eatonville’s new executive chef. The Culinary Institute of America alumnus is coming to Eatonville from Stella’s in Castine, Maine. I got wind of this information not through a press release but via Facebook. You see, I went to high school with Garret — 786 miles away in Rockford, Ill.
I remember comparing Garret to some literary figure in junior year English class, a super-smart slacker who maybe didn’t get the greatest grades but you knew he could, if he just gave enough of a shit. He had a rebel quality to him, somewhat at odds with his father’s post as president of the Rockford Institute, an über-conservative think-tank.
Something I didn’t know about Garret: According to the press release, he was born in Charleston, S.C., and his “culinary heritage is rooted in the Lowcountry cooking of his childhood.” There’s not too much shrimp and grits or Hoppin’ John in Rockford, so either he was eating it at home or making frequent trips back to Charleston.
Tomorrow is Garret’s official coming-out party at Eatonville, and he’s got a pretty delicious sounding prix fixe menu planned, featuring roasted tomato pudding, braised lamb shank, and Bosc pear cobbler.