Just got an email from Rachel Yang, the chef whose work at Coupage I admired, and she let me know that she and husband/cooking partner Seif Chirchi are no longer at the six-month-old Madrona restaurant.
Everyone involved is citing "professional differences," and we all know what that means, but I'm pleased to report two things:
1. Rachel and Seif say that they feel like Seattle has become home, and looking around for their next project, with the hope of someday opening their own place. Thank goodness—I enjoyed their food and I'm glad we get to keep them.
2. Coupage owner Thomas Hurley, a New York-trained chef whose eponymous Portland restaurant is one of Oregon's culinary destinations, is going to keep Coupage's Korean-French focus and is personally running the kitchen. When I asked Hurley if he was searching for a new chef, he replied that he is and has always been the "chef" of Coupage, and that he has studied Korean culture and food for 16 years, a detail for which I also say, thank goodness, because there's nothing I'm more bored with than half-assed fusion cuisine. Hurley's second Seattle restaurant, which will be called Hurley's, is also in the planning stages.