After seven years running his own kitchen at Salt, his Upper Fells Point restaurant that put duck fat fries, Wagyu sliders and changing menus on Baltimore’s food map, Jason Ambrose is stepping aside.
Ambrose is turning over Salt's day-to-day kitchen operations to Brian Lavin, who joined the Salt team in 2010 and has been its sous-chef for about a year and a half, according to Ambrose.
"I made a decision I was going to take a step out," said Ambrose.
"Brian came to me as a line cook with a tremendous interest in food. He leans toward clean Italian type of food, but he's embraced the Salt attitude. It's a nice balance."
"He's taking it on well," Ambrose said of Lavin, 25, a native of Elkridge. "He's been doing it for a few months. We discuss, collaborate. But with the exception of the Salt staples the [new] menu is his."
For the time being, Ambrose has been working a night or two on the line, but Salt customers have recently started seeing him out front, hosting and manning the phones.
And what's next for Ambrose?
"I'm going to take the rest of the year and do a handful of “stages” outside of Maryland, take some time to figure out what I'm going to do next."
"Stages," which Ambrose pronounced "stazh-is," is a culinary-world term. Basically, "staging" is working for free in another chef's kitchen.
"Also," Ambrose said, "I'm going to spend a little bit more time with me wife."