In March, Kent Rigsby announced his son, Forbes, would be moving to Colorado and vacating his post as executive chef of venerable Short North restaurant Rigsby's Kitchen. Kent's first choice for a new chef? Silas Caeton, formerly of Delaware's modernist-leaning Veritas.
In March, Kent Rigsby announced his son, Forbes, would be moving to Colorado and vacating his post as executive chef of venerable Short North restaurant Rigsby's Kitchen. Kent's first choice for a new chef? Silas Caeton, formerly of Delaware's modernist-leaning Veritas. "I went to Veritas once and really enjoyed it," Kent says. "I knew he was skilled and talented." The 26-year-old Caeton took over as executive chef mid-April and has big plans for a menu shakeup this month. rigsbyskitchen.com
What can you tell us about the new menu? We're going to go a little old school. It's going to have a classic bistro-style look, shying away from the lists of food. The original Rigsby's, the intent was to be a neighborhood restaurant. We're trying to go back to the roots-the heritage of Mediterranean and Italian cooking without being firmly entrenched in those cuisines.
Will we recognize the new Rigsby's? I think we're going to alienate a few people. For example, we took off the Capellini Natasha. My logic was we can't keep pandering to diners who have been coming here for so long. Yes, we appreciate their business, but at the same point, we're not going to be held hostage by someone else's expectations. We're trying to slowly change the identity of Rigsby's in people's minds.
Kent and I have talked about how there are two ways restaurants operate. They're either authentic or relevant. I think Rigsby's has been authentic for 30 years; I don't know it's been relevant as of late.
What do you mean by relevant? Not just keeping up with food trends, because trends are fickle. Then you just fall prey to doing what is "in." Younger generations don't think of coming here because it's too uppity, too expensive, and they think the menu hasn't changed in 30 years. We're trying to [change that perspective].
Will you be bringing any Veritas tricks with you? My goal is to do more honest food. It's going to be a beautiful plate because it's beautiful food. That's what we're all about here. That said, learning so much at Veritas, it's just natural it will roll over into here. You probably won't see a foam on a plate, but you might see a powder or two. It will be subtle.
What should we know about your style of cooking? It's familiar food, but with a different perspective. I love reaching into people's memories of flavors and messing with that a little bit, be it a new flavor or texture added in, making something you wouldn't think of making at home.
What was your initial reaction when Kent reached out? Right away my brain was exploding with possibilities and potential, just because I've always had this respect for Rigsby's as the crown jewel of Columbus. To be able to be a part of it, it's an amazing opportunity. I can't even imagine the things we'll be able to do together.