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Craig Strong resigns from the Dining Room at the Langham, will move on to Studio at the Montage

May 8, 2009 |  6:28 pm

Craig-Strong On Wednesday, after eight years of service, Craig Strong resigned his position as chef de cuisine at the Dining Room at the Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa. His impressive list of accomplishments includes a three-star review in 2005 from Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila, when the Langham was under the ownership of the Ritz-Carlton. Strong was also instrumental in garnering a Michelin star for the restaurant in 2007 and 2008.

His last day is May 20. Then, after getting married over Memorial Day weekend, Strong will begin working as the executive chef at Studio at the Montage in Laguna Beach.

Reps for the Dining Room say that although they were caught off guard by Strong's decision, they part ways amicably. "It was a bittersweet decision," said a publicist for the Langham. "But it's human nature, people need to move on. He had a great run with us."

When Strong leaves, executive chef Denis Depoitre will step in temporarily. The Dining Room is looking for a replacement and hopes to find someone before it closes for renovations at the end of August.

Strong says he has nothing but love for the Dining Room but that it was time to move on. He also has plans to move with his new wife to Laguna Niguel.

"Studio has a great reputation, and the Montage is a world-class resort," he said when reached by phone in the kitchen at the Dining Room (in the middle of making gnocchi). "I'm sure there is a list of really talented people who would love to take my place here, and I'd love to pass the baton to the next person and have them take it even further."

— Jessica Gelt

Photo: Craig Strong, right, chef de cuisine at the Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, cooks at home in South Pasadena last year. He's helped by friend Robert Hartstein and his son Robbie. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times