Late-breaking (and heartbreaking) news out of Culver City today: Evan Funke is stepping down as chef of Bucato, effective immediately.
The handmade pasta wunderkind has been manning the airy Italian ode since it opened at the Helms Bakery complex in late summer 2013, and its been a favorite in our Eater Heat Maps and Essential 38 lists since just about day one. The many accolades for the restaurant only served to fuel Funke’s fire for handmade pasta and Italian specialities evan more, which has seriously elevated the eatery while making this sudden departure all the harder to swallow. Funke was at the pass nearly every night the restaurant was open, which assured a certain level of quality.
Funke so far hasn’t said where he’ll land, other than a mention of spending time in Italy, but his last day was actually last week and there's no word on a kitchen replacement as of yet. The future of the upcoming Thoroughbred in Culver City at the Hayden Tract Platform is also seriously in doubt (Funke tells the Times that the project wasn't his in terms of ownership anyway), especially considering the partnership there with Bucato affiliate Ed Keebler.
More news on this story if and when it becomes available.