Last time we checked in with Richard Brandenburg, the Reston native was walking out the door at Urbana in the Hotel Palomar, where he had lost too much hair trying to juggle all the responsibilities of a hotel chef. He left the gig in March with no immediate job but thought he would remain in the area since his wife, Elli Brandenburg, had accepted the job as sommelier at Rasika earlier this year.
Apparently he thought wrong.
Caught on his cell phone this afternoon, Brandenburg was preparing for dinner service at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., where he has been hired as executive chef. (Hold off on the “rat’s mouth” jokes, please; Brandenburg has already looked up the real story behind the city’s name.) Seems that, in the end, Brandenburg decided to choose family over career.
“They gave me an offer that I just couldn’t refuse,” Brandenburg says. “It’s a quality of life decision. A country club chef, (a) pays a lot more than a restaurant chef, and (b) works a lot less. Having two children and a beautiful wife at home, it kind of made the decision for me. I got my priorities straight, finally.”
Elli Brandenburg has left Rasika, husband says, but is still studying to become a master sommelier.