Alen Lin, 12/1/07
Big news came in late yesterday: "From a first hand source. Yianni, the chef de cuisine at Paperfish is no longer at the resto. Depending on who you ask, he and Joachim decided together that he will leave, or Joachim called him this morning on his way to work and fired him. I'll leave you to decide, but if you know Joachim at all, the answer is very clear."
Confirmed. We just spoke to Splichal: "Yianni and I have parted ways, and we'll make an announcement about his replacement next week." Paperfish has barely been open four months, so was this because S. Irene Virbila's scathing half-star review of Paperfish in the Los Angeles Times? Let's look at the evidence.
It barely hit the three month mark (lunch started in November, dinner service in January) when Miss Irene gave Paperfish a half star. She said she loved chef de cuisine Yianni Koufondonti's previous cooking at Petros in Manhattan Beach, but pondered if it was simply a bad match between him and Joachim Splichal's Cal-French cuisine: "It could be that Splichal's signature style just isn't part of Koufodontis' DNA, because he's certainly not cooking with conviction. Splichal's chefs at his various restaurants don't often show strong personality in their cooking until after they leave and open their own places." The food, she felt was inconsistent and corporate.
But she's not the only critical voice in town. Paperfish only got the First Look treatment from Jonathan Gold, and although Patric Kuh hasn't fully reviewed it in Los Angeles magazine yet, we're told it will be in the "top 75 restaurants in LA" issue next month. But Brad A. Johnson doled out four stars in the February issue of Angeleno, saying that it's the best restaurant in Splichal's entire portfolio. And about Koufondonits: "This is a chef whose star is rising. Meteorically." As for Splichal, he wouldn't comment on whether Yianni's "parting" had anything to do with the half-star review. He simply said, "I wish him luck."
· Week in Reviews: Paperfish Sinks [~ELA~]
· Paperfish [Angeleno]
· Joachim Splichal's Paperfish: It's in the bag [LA Weekly]
· Eater Inside; Paperfish [~ELA~]