Layla Walk is leaving her post as chef de cuisine at Fred's Meat & Bread and Yalla, and she will take over the kitchen at Last Word as executive chef. Walk replaces co-chefs Eddie Russell, who recently left, and Matt Palmerlee, who plans to take some time off from the Atlanta dining scene.
"Layla is a natural fit for the team on so many levels," Last Word co-owner Bernard Moussa said in a prepared statement. "We're as excited about Layla's cooking background and passions as we are about her reputation for running a team-oriented kitchen that puts food and guests first.
"We're incredibly grateful to the time and talents that Matt brought to Last Word. The whole team is behind him and we're excited to cheer him on in his travels and all of his ventures to come."
Palmerlee detailed his immediate plans in a statement of his own.
"This summer, I will be cooking in Alaska. I'm looking forward to the fresh perspective, ideas presented by a new environment, and the opportunity to play with the unfamiliar ingredients I'll find there," Palmerlee said. "I'll be following that up with an extended stay with my family. My brother and his fiancée are expecting a baby in September, and I'll be there to support them, get to know the newest member of my family, and make sure everyone stays well fed between diaper changes and sleepless nights.
"I remain an active partner in The Branded Butcher in Athens, and I'm planning to spend more time there. I love the work Trey Rayburn is doing in that kitchen, and it's a pleasure to get back to my crew and business partners in the Classic City."
Walk's professional experience also includes time at King + Duke, Bella Cucina, and The Optimist. Walk's first day at Last Word is set for Tuesday, April 28, coinciding with the debut of a new patio at the restaurant and two days after it adds Sunday hours from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.