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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Restaurant News: Peter Rudolph Taking Helm At Campton Place


I received an email from a reader yesterday afternoon repeating a rumor that I'd been hearing for the past couple of days, namely that Peter Rudolph - Chef de Cuisine at Navio in the The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay - was taking over the kitchen at Campton Place.   Well, I called over to the restaurant today to get the full story, and I can now confirm the veracity of the rumor - Rudolph is already onsite and is heading up the kitchen.   Notably, however, a decision has not yet been made as to whether Rudolph's appointment will be a permanent one, or whether he will merely serve in a transitional capacity instead.   Thus, while Campton Place personnel did not say this in so many words, the arrangement appears to be one in which Rudolph has basically been hired for a prolonged "audition."

To be perfectly honest, I was actually quite surprised to hear that Rudolph was being considered for the position at Campton Place at all.   Daniel Humm - the chef who took Campton Place to four-star status before announcing last month that he would be departing for New York - was absolutely brilliant, and it would be difficult for anybody to fill his shoes.   But Rudolph's cuisine at Navio has always struck me as being in a completely different league than Humm's, and the review I posted here about my first dinner at Navio reflects the ways in which some of Rudolph's dishes fell short.   In light of this, it's my suspicion that Rudolph is going to have to stretch himself and really rise to the occasion in order to thrive and survive at Campton Place over the longer term.

All of that said, I really do hope that Rudolph is able to achieve great success in his new position.   It's always rewarding to watch young chefs advance their skill sets and develop their talents over time, and it would be great to see Rudolph move his cuisine to a higher plane and achieve wider recognition for his talents.   I look forward to seeing what Rudolph will do at Campton Place.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Tana said...

Do you happen to know when he leaves Navio?

January 11, 2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger NS said...

Tana: I'm told that Rudolph has already left Navio and is actively manning the kitchen at Campton Place. Incidentally, the Chronicle's Food Section has a piece this morning containing some additional information.

January 11, 2006 11:51 AM  
Anonymous JS said...

yup, that coincides with my understanding based on a conversation with campton place; they said that daniel humm was no longer cooking as of the new year, but has been working with chef rudolph to transition. humm is apparently leaving on the 12th, and the person i spoke to at the hotel actually recommended holding off on making reservations for the restaurant for 4-6 weeks for things to settle. (sounds like there's staff turn over, a new menu being designed, etc.)

January 11, 2006 7:26 PM  
Blogger NS said...

JS: Thanks for the information. The article in The Chronicle yesterday quoted Rudolph as saying that the menu "is no longer Daniel Humm's food," which I assumed to mean that Rudolph has already started rolling out his own menu. Interesting that hotel personnel are telling folks to stay away for 4-6 weeks - I'm sure that the owners would be pleased to know that!

January 12, 2006 7:53 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

When I came back to the Bay Area for winter break Campton Place was on my list of places to go. I made reservations for the 11th, but found out a week before the new year that Humm was leaving! I was bummed but decided that I should try it out anyway.

It was a pretty disappointing lunch. Everything was oversalted and really wasn't very innovative in ingredient combinations or textures. I'm not very keen on returning, but I do want to try Rudolph's cuisine when the kitchen is more "settled."

Great blog by the way!

February 04, 2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger tejal said...

You should go back to Navio--I hear new chef Aaron Zimmer is making some interesting changes to the menu, and that banana creme brulee you mention is long gone, replaced by more interesting things...

April 28, 2006 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you do go to Campton Place, be sure to ask chef Rudolph how it feels to make a mockery out of a San Francisco culinary landmark. The food, at best, deserves 1 star. Granted he has big shoes to fill, Daniel's shoes are huge, but Rudolph couldn't fill those of my six year old daughter!

June 20, 2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger NS said...

Jennifer: Thanks for stopping by, and my apologies for the long delay in my response. I'm sorry to hear that your experience at Campton Place back in January was not a good one. I was hoping that the situation might have improved since your visit, but the anonymous comment above suggests that it may not have. Are you still planning to go back? If you do, please let me know what you think!

Tejal: Thanks for the tip about Navio; I would definitely like to return to check out the new menu and to see what Zimmer is up to. I'll put up a post here after I've done so, but please let me know if you get there before I do!

Anonymous: Thank you for the feedback. I had really hoped that Rudolph would grow into the new position, but your comment is disconcerting. I'm tempted to go back to Campton Place just to see Rudolph's menu firsthand -- I'll let you know if I do.

June 20, 2006 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been back for a couple dinners and a couple breakfasts, as recently as last week. While not yet up to the same level of perfection as under Chef Humm, I was very satisfied with the meal and service. There are some new servers who are not quite as polished as the old, and the dessert was disappointing, but there were also some really great dishes on the tasting menu.

July 10, 2006 6:29 PM  
Anonymous skiptronic said...

I ate at Campton Place two weeks ago and the food was awesome! I read the reviews on here so I decided to wait a bit before posting but I still feel that it was among the best meals I have ever had. My friend is a vegitarian and the chef really went out of his way to make sure she was happy. We'll go back.

August 31, 2006 12:41 PM  

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