Matt Robicelli has joined Modern Cook Shop in Fells Point, where he will consult with the restaurant and market to help expand its culinary offerings.
Robicelli most recently worked as executive chef at Trinacria Cafe, a restaurant he joined in January. Robicelli said he was recruited by Modern Cook Shop, where he will fill the vacant executive chef position for the next few months. Whether he will stay on board long-term has yet to be determined.
Matt and his wife, Allison Robicelli, moved to Baltimore last year after closing their popular Robicelli's Bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y. They closed the shop in December 2015 with plans to relocate it to Baltimore and ultimately open 100 franchise locations worldwide.
Matt Robicelli said those plans are on hold because of health problems he encountered last year, from which he said he is still recovering. He said he expects to revisit the bakery concept in about two years.
"The plans for the bakery are still on the shelf for a little bit," Robicelli said.
In the meantime, Robicelli will bring some of his baked goods to Modern Cook Shop. The restaurant, opened at 901 S. Wolfe St. last year by Andy Gruver and Jason Sanchez, incorporates several bars and a market area, with tables between shelves of grocery staples.
The multifaceted setup was part of what drew Robicelli to Modern Cook Shop, he said.
"It took me a while to kind of figure out what it was, whether it was a restaurant or a grocery store," he said.
As Robicelli looks to add to the restaurant's offerings, he plans to start by revamping the coffee program, a change diners will notice next week. The coffees and teas will remain the same, but the accompanying baked goods will now be made in-house.
Robicelli said he'll be serving brownies, cookies, bars and other sweets (no cupcakes yet, though he expects "people will be asking for them.") He's excited to roll out a sweet corn cake topped with corn husk custard.
After that Robicelli said he'll work on revamping the cheese program. He also plans to refresh the restaurant's all-day and dinner menus.
For Modern Cook Shop's all-day menu, Robicelli plans to introduce a new type of cuisine to the restaurant — but he's not quite sure what to call it.
"It’s a combination of farm-to-table and California and diner food," he said. "I’m just gonna coin it right now as 'new Baltimore cuisine.'"
For dinner, Robicelli said the food will carry the same influences, but the dishes will be "a little bit fancier." The dinner menu will be limited and change weekly, with three or four entrees and about the same number of starter plates.
The changes will be rolled out during the next several weeks.