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.