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Animal's Jonathan Whitener Sets Off on His Own After Three Years as Chef de Cuisine

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Jonathan Whitener departs Animal for solo venture

Outside Animal
Outside Animal
Darin Dines

Animal's chef de cuisine of three years, Jonathan Whitener, posted to Instagram a heartfelt goodbye to the Fairfax restaurant he called home for three years. Jon Shook, a partner at Animal, has stated that two new chefs, one from New York and another from Napa (currently unnamed) have come in to fill his place. They would join a three-chef team that runs the kitchen.

Whitener expressed his gratitude to the Animal owners, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, and wrote: "Jon and Vinny, I hope I did the space justice, love you guys forever for believing in me."

For three years, Whitener, a "Rising Star" chef, had a heavy hand in forming what is the current-day menu at Animal, with such contributions as: fried rabbit legs with sour cream gravy, and cult-condiment "JW's Black Sriracha," which often found smeared onto a plate with crispy sweetbreads or soft-shell crab fried "honey-walnut-style."

Though Whitener helped launch the new brunch menu at Animal, Shook and Dotolo are hoping to initiate a separate tasting menu at the longtime Fairfax standby with the new team of chefs.

Word on the street is that Whitener is planning to open his own restaurant.

Animal Restaurant

435 North Fairfax Avenue, , CA 90036 (323) 782-9225 Visit Website

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