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Melanie Durant moves to Charleston, Ryan Smith returns to Empire State South

Change is again on the horizon at Empire State South. Executive pastry chef Melanie Durant has accepted an offer to launch a pastry program at Fig in Charleston, where she’ll extend the eatery’s award-winning seasonal and local approach to the dessert menu. Durant led the ESS pastry team following Cynthia Wong’s departure in 2012, who moved to London taking the beloved phatty cakes with her. Ryan Smith, who previously ran the kitchen, will step in as the temporary pastry chef.

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