Maude, the tasting menu restaurant from Curtis Stone that focused on a different ingredient every month, is changing its format after it undergoes a brief closure at the end of 2017. The restaurant, which has garnered positive critical acclaim and a loyal following since it opened in 2014, will reopen in early 2018 with an “updated experience and format.”
Details of the new format are unclear, but in conversations with its representatives, Maude’s signature one-ingredient tasting menu focus per month will no longer be its most notable feature.
The shift is led by executive chef Justin Hilbert, who took over in April 2016, as well as general manager Kevin Caravelli. The idea is to maintain Maude’s core approach until the end of the year. Says Hilbert: “We still want Maude to be familiar to our loyal guests who have been coming for years.”
In the meantime, Stone, who still owns the restaurant and oversees its operation, had this to say about the change:
Maude was a concept that I had dreamt about for a long time and it was anchored to my background, named after my grandmother, and inspired by my personal culinary vision. Justin and Kevin have carried that vision beautifully over the last year while I opened Gwen, and I think it’s time to let their inspiration shine through an updated version of Maude that incorporates their vision.
When Eater pushed the team for some additional details on the new format, they wouldn’t confirm anything at the moment. From the recent release they sent out, it seems like the next few months will be about figuring out exactly what the Maude experience will be without a commitment to a single ingredient every month. Hilbert again: “We have a lot of decisions to make over the next few months and we’re eager to finish out our 2017 monthly menus.”
Does this shift change Maude’s appeal at all? While there certainly could be elements of a seasonal nature to the menu, does this new, more stagnant approach put Maude at a greater reach to the wider food enthusiast scene that favors pricey tasting menus?
With Stone’s ambitions clearly within view at his second restaurant Gwen, where he openly called for the return of the Michelin Guide, it seems that Maude’s place in the LA fine dining scene could be cemented with this more consistent tasting menu. Perhaps now, the World’s 50 Best will take a longer look at the city’s fine dining restaurants.