Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee
Rocket Farms Restaurants and chef/restaurateur Ford Fry announced today that Wesley True is replacing Adam Evans as executive chef at the Optimist. True worked at Danube and Aquavit in New York City, and most recently the Spence; Evans, who has led the Optimist since its opening in 2012, announced his departure last month and has yet to reveal his future plans. The two will work together for a couple of weeks to create a smooth transition for the restaurant.
“I don’t want to stray from the spirit of the restaurant,” True says. “It’s still the Optimist—it needs to be bigger than me or anyone who works here. I intend to continue with the perfection that the Optimist is.”
Evans introduced True to Fry several years ago, and the pair kept in touch, playing guitar together. “That’s such a better way to form a business relationship—starting off as friends,” True explains. “We see eye to eye.”
True, who has worked closely with the Alabama Gulf Seafood board, has a passion for crudo and vegetables and will continue to concentrate on those offerings at the oyster bar. He says it’ll probably take three or four weeks before he starts tweaking menus.
“You need to go into a space and feel it out—have the space speak to you about what to cook. If you force it, the food’s not going to come from the heart. If you let it happen naturally, you can really taste that,” he says.
No word yet on who will lead the kitchen at the little sister to the Optimist, planned for 280 Elizabeth Street in Inman Park late this year.