I just got off the phone with Jason Hice, who was head cheffing at the British Beverage Company when it first opened on November 1. He sent me an email the other day, telling me he moved over to JoJo Eating House & Bar, which is right down the street from the new pub. Apparently, Hice has been a little too friendly with his neighbors.
“I made real good friends with Laurent,” says Hice. “He’s a true old-school chef.”
Hice has a background working in French cuisine, so he and Poupart, the owner of JoJo, hit it off. The ex-BBC chef used to walk across Routh and share his dishes with Poupart. “I think they got a little mad that I was coming over here [JoJo].”
The owners of BBC (there’s about 12 of them, Hice says) told Hice he was let go. (“The sous chef came over and was taking pictures while I was helping Laurent one day, and I think that’s what set them off.”) Hice told Poupart what happened, and the next day, Poupart called him to offer him a new job: the role of chef de cuisine at JoJo. He’s making the same amount he was before, and now he’s much happier.
The new JoJo employee can’t sing enough praises about Poupart. “It was a good move; it was going to happen…It’s a better kitchen and this guy [Poupart] gets the best ingredients possible. The techniques are really cool.”
SideDishers, this makes me wonder: How friendly can you be with your competition? Is sharing dishes with another restaurant a fireable offense?