Longtime Manhattan Beach chef Michael Fiorelli seems set on leaving the South Bay behind, telling Eater over the weekend that he’ll be moving on from popular restaurant Love & Salt in the fall.
Fiorelli first rose to prominence while working at Mar’sel, the do-it-all restaurant on the grounds of the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. That’s also where he began seriously collaborating with longtime friend and coworker Rebecca Merhej, a 2015 Eater Young Gun winner and the chef de cuisine at Love & Salt. Now Fiorelli is stepping out on his own, with Merhej staying behind to help oversee the four-year-old coastal Italian restaurant during the transition. According to reps for the restaurant, Merhej will not immediately be stepping into the executive chef role; instead, daughter-and-father owners Sylvie Gabriele and Guy Gabriele will seek to fill the position at a later date.
As for Fiorelli in particular, it’s not clear at the moment just where he’ll land. The respected chef has long had an inkling to bring a new restaurant project up into the heart of Los Angeles proper, and could be keen to open a new project that carries his name. Fiorelli sends along the following note:
The opportunity to open Love & Salt with Sylvie & Guy was a dream for me, and I’m proud of what we accomplished together during these past few years. They are great people, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with them.
In the meantime, chef Fiorelli will continue to cook at Love & Salt through September.