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The Scoop: Amy Zupanci no longer the chef at Vino Nadoz – UPDATES

November 30th 03:11pm, 2011

101811_amyzChef Amy Zupanci is no longer working at Vino Nadoz Wine Bar & Café. Zupanci departed from the wine bar located at 16 The Boulevard in Richmond Heights less than six weeks after being hired as the eatery’s chef and manager. She stepped into the kitchen at Vino Nadoz after closing her Edwardsville, Ill.-based fine dining restaurant, Fond, and selling her shares of grocery/corner store Township Grocer, also in Edwardsville. The Scoop has been unable to discuss the departure with Zupanci or Vino Nadoz co-owner Kathy Becker. More as we learn it.

Update 11/30/11: Steven Becker, co-owner of Vino Nadoz and its parent company Steven Becker Fine Dining, had the following to say regarding Zupanci’s departure: “I guess it wasn’t a good fit,” he said, explaining that her exit earlier this week was sudden and unexpected. Becker added that he was pleased with the changes Zupanci had made to the wine bar menu. “It’s her menu that she developed with the staff; she did a great job.” Currently overseeing food operations at Vino Nadoz is Steven Becker Fine Dining executive chef Trent Thrun.

Update 12/1/11: The Scoop spoke today with Amy Zupanci regarding her abrupt departure from Vino Nadoz. “It just wasn’t going to work out,” she said, citing that she felt torn between her desire to cook sustainably and her need to make a living. “At Fond, I worked with 40 farmers; people would show up [with food] at the back door. I knew that would be limited [at Vino Nadoz]. I worked at Fond for three years. I didn’t take a salary for three years. At the end of the day, I needed to take a paycheck; I needed to make a living … so I made a personal sacrifice. [But] it’s not worth being unhappy.”

So what’s up next for Zupanci? The Edwardsville native intends to pursue a culinary career in California, particularly in the gastronomic scene stretching between Mendocino County and the city of Monterrey. She has already sent resumes to restaurants and hopes to set up stages for the spring to “lay the foundation” for a new job. In the meantime, Zupanci will continue to teach cooking classes at Dierberg’s as well as Kitchen Conservatory.

— Photo by Greg Rannells

By Ligaya Figueras

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One Response to “The Scoop: Amy Zupanci no longer the chef at Vino Nadoz – UPDATES”

  1. Jim Says:
    December 1st, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    That’s unfortunate news. I wish Amy would give St. Louis a chance and hook up with the sustainability folks on this side of the river to create a version of Fond in St. Louis (only more profitable, for her sake). I loved my experience there and would have repeated it, had it not been such a hike to Edwardsville. Best of luck in CA (but consider staying in MO!).

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