Samir Mohammad on why he got axed from the Village Cork -- and owner Lisa Lapp's plans for the future
Lapp, who insists that this "was not a decision made without tears," maintains that Mohammad "wasn't at home often enough", and that while firing him was akin to "kicking the kid out of the nest," it was the right decision for the restaurant, for the staff and for Mohammad. "His priorities have changed, and we no longer see eye to eye, but he's charismatic and creative -- I would never take that away from him -- and whoever hires him will be very lucky and fortunate." Still, she contends that "it was absolutely the right decision to let him go."
And a good time, too, to cancel brunch, which the Village Cork started just two months ago, unleashing an awe-inspiring menu, which included, among other morning glories, a sensational foie eggs Benedict. But Lapp, who has since promoted Dan Sedlack, a former pantry cook at the Village Cork, to the interim exec-chef position, says that there was just too much on her plate to continue it. "It was so much work for everyone, and we were tired. We needed that one day off," she explains, noting that she's in the midst of interviewing potential executive chefs. "I'm talking to a few people, but we're just going to stay the course for the time being."
And search, she says, for a space to open a second restaurant. Lapp recently submitted a contract to take over the old Heidi's Brooklyn Deli address on South Broadway, but the deal fell through. "We wanted to buy the building, but the landlord decided that he wanted to lease it instead, so the deal didn't come to fruition. But we're definitely pursuing another restaurant that will be a buttoned-up version of the Village Cork that's a little bit finer," she reveals.
Mohammad, who's heading off for the weekend to weigh his options, is being wooed by several restaurateurs, but he's taking his time before committing. "I honestly just want to keep doing simple food that focuses on local, organic ingredients, I want to stay involved in the community, and I want to make sure that wherever I end up is the right fit," he says, adding that he'd like "an open, full kitchen with full owner support."
And Lapp hopes that Mohammad gets his wish. "This was the hardest decision I've had to make since opening the Village Cork, but it was purely a business decision, and Samir is a very talented, very likable chef who will go on to do great things."