Michel Richard names Omri Aflalo as chef de cuisine at Citrus at Social
For the last several weeks, Omri Aflalo has been helming the stoves at Citrus at Social as acting chef de cuisine, and now chef-owner Michel Richard is making it official. Aflalo takes up the post relinquished by former chef de cuisine Remi Lauvand, who departed abruptly last month.
Aflalo left San Francisco behind to join Citrus. Aflalo, 28, cooked at Gary Danko and Aqua in San Francisco and previously had worked closely with Richard at Citronelle in Washington, D.C. He also worked at l'Essentiel in Chambery, France, and Nero Bianco in Namur, Belgium.
"He worked with me for three years, and I feel good having someone in my kitchen that I can trust," says Richard, who was in town earlier this month from D.C., presumably to help steer the ship after Lauvand's departure -- which raised questions about whether Citrus at Social, open since February, was drawing enough diners.
Expect modest menu changes. "I'm going to start testing recipes and there will be some changes, but I'm trying to implement Michel's style, his sense of the whimsical," Aflalo says.
"Some dishes we can't remove," Richard says, "the carpaccio mosaic, for instance" (thin slices of "surf, turf and earth" served on a platter -- raw beef, tuna, salmon, scallop and roasted pepper, garnished with frisee or pink grapefruit segments and a drizzle of basil and kumquat oils). Or his signature Kit Kat bar dessert (a rectangle of cocoa-dusted chocolate ganache with a layer of fine hazelnut praline). But it's no longer called Kit Kat. "Hershey's sent us a letter that we had to remove the name," Richard says.
Citrus at Social, 6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 462-5222.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo of Omri Aflalo by Betty Hallock