Chef Paul Liebrandt has left Corton, the two Michelin star NYC restaurant. In a statement Liebrandt's publicist gave the New York Times this weekend, Liebrandt explains: "I felt it was the right time to move on to new and different projects which, in addition to the Elm, are already in the planning stages, including a signature Paul Liebrandt restaurant." The announcement comes while Corton is on "summer vacation" and shortly after the opening of Liebrandt's Brooklyn restaurant The Elm.
The future of Corton is still uncertain. Restaurateur Drew Nieporent, Liebrandt's partner at Corton, has not announced official plans for the restaurant, and tells the Times: "I'm not saying it's going to continue on, or close ... At this moment I haven't made that decision." Apparently, friction between the two men developed as a result of Liebrandt's decision to open The Elm. "Your partner cannot be your competitor," Nieporent notes. Nieporent says he gave Liebrandt the option of buying him out of Corton.
Nieporent has reportedly been approached by chefs interested in working with him, and he says: "Keep your eyes open, because something exciting's going to follow." Eater NY editor Greg Morabito explains the impact of Liebrandt's decision on Corton: "Corton was very much a showcase for Liebrandt, who was both the chef and co-owner. It's hard to imagine the Corton brand living on without the chef at the restaurant."
· Paul Liebrandt Is Leaving Corton [NYT]
· Chef Paul Liebrandt OUT at Corton in Tribeca [Eater NY]