June 17, 2013
New chef de cuisine puts in first week at The Kitchen

By Cathie Anderson

After a nationwide search, the Selland Group has hired John Griffiths to be its chef de cuisine at The Kitchen.

The Kitchen's former head chef, Noah Zonca, is part of the team developing the new Capital Dime restaurant at 1801 L St. in midtown Sacramento.

Zonca didn't go to culinary school. He learned his trade at The Kitchen, starting out as a dishwasher there. Griffiths, on the other hand, is a graduate of the culinary program at Schoolcraft College outside Detroit. He's been an executive chef for many years now and comes to The Kitchen from a position as campus executive chef at Washington University in St. Louis.

Josh Nelson, a partner in The Selland Group, said Griffiths stood out as a chef, as an organized leader and as an articulate performer. The latter comes in handy since food is theater at The Kitchen. Nelson said Griffiths ran all of Washington University's dining facilities, including a fine dining establishment that sourced 100 percent of its ingredients locally.

The Selland family had a recruiting firm search for applicants: "We had chefs come out from Seattle, Los Angeles, Napa and St. Louis. They were the four candidates that made it far enough through the interviewing process. We brought them out, and they did what we call a "stage," pronounced "stahzje," in the restaurant where they cook with us for a couple days and then they also got on stage and did part of the show."

Prior to working at Washington University, Griffiths ran the kitchen at a restaurant called Truffles. He won acclaim among St. Louis diners for his modern take on Italian cuisine. His departure has been hot news among St. Louis food bloggers. Like Zonca, Griffiths will work closely with executive chef Randall Selland.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Follow her on Twitter: @CathieA_SacBee.

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