Two of Austin’s best restaurants are preparing to say goodbye to two major players. Barley Swine and Odd Duck’s executive pastry chef Susana Querejazu and her husband, and Barley Swine executive sous chef, Bradley Nicholson, are leaving their positions at Bryce Gilmore’s restaurants to move to San Francisco.
Nicholson will first train at Amass in Copenhagen before the couple moves to San Francisco, where Nicholson will work at the three-Michelin-starred Saison and Querejazu will stage at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Benu.
The recently married chefs have both shown exceptional skill in dish design and execution, and Nicholson, one of the city’s best chefs not running his own kitchen, points to Gilmore as a boss who has long provided encouragement and inspiration. Nicholson undoubtedly could have taken other offers to leave along the way, but has likely benefited from planting roots and growing under Gilmore.
“I’m a little more old school than a lot of the people who are line cooks now. They want to work for a couple of years and then be a chef after that,” Nicholson told the Statesman last year. “The way that I was taught is you spend enough time working for some people that are way better than you, see as much as you can see. Everybody wants to be the boss, but I think it’s better to find a place where you fit and respect and learn as much as you can. Bryce has given me a lot of opportunities … I’m growing here. I haven’t stopped growing here. Every six months there’s a new incarnation of the restaurant. That’s kept me excited and engaged.”
Gilmore says he is excited for Querejazu’s and Nicholson’s opportunities but sad to see them leave.
“Susana has been an integral part of both restaurants and has been a true member of our family here. Bradley has been with us since 2011 and without him I feel confident in saying we would not have experienced all the success we have,” Gilmore said. “This is the next step in growing their professional, culinary careers and everyone is very proud to send them both off to San Francisco. They will always have a home with us back in Austin.”
Former Odd Duck executive sous chef Nick Hymel has moved over to Barley Swine with the announcement of Nicholson’s departure.
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Correction: A previous version of this blog incorrectly connected the men’tor grant to the Bocuse d’Or.