The Optimist executive chef Craig Richards is grooming new talent in the kitchen. Pasquale Pascarella has joined the back-of-house staff, reports Creative Loafing, and he will eventually take over as executive chef.
A representative for Ford Fry Restaurants tells Eater Atlanta Pascarella is indeed working under Richards, but right now there is no timeline for the transition at executive chef to take place.
Richards is executive chef at St. Cecilia, another Ford Fry restaurant, and he’s been running the kitchen at The Optimist as the restaurant has searched for a replacement for Wesley True. True, a Top Chef alum, held the job for a little more than a year before he left in August 2016.
Pascarella comes to Atlanta from Norwalk, Conn., where he served as chef and owner at Italian restaurant Bar Sugo since October 2012. He’s also spent time at Mario Batali’s Esca and Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin in New York City.