Paul Liebrandt Has Left Corton

Michelin-starred restaurant currently chefless

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By Elizabeth Licata

City Guides

After five years in the kitchen at Corton, Paul Liebrandt announced yesterday that he would be leaving the popular TriBeCa restaurant.

According to the New York Times, Liebrandt is planning to concentrate on the Elm, his more casual spot in Williamsburg, and a high-end project he's opening in Manhattan. Meanwhile Corton, which has two Michelin stars and received three stars from New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni in 2008, is currently without a chef.

“After five years of significant achievement at Corton, we’ve parted ways with Paul Liebrandt...." the restaurant tweeted Saturday at 1:14 p.m. The tweet linked to the restaurant's website, which now has only a note from co-owner Drew Nieporent:

"'After five years of significant achievement at Corton, we’ve parted ways with Paul Liebrandt. We thank our terrific staff for their hard work and commitment and the best customers any restaurant could hope for. It’s time to reassess. Our options are open and I’m certain exciting things lie in our future.' – Drew, July 27, 2013."

Nieporent said he is still weighing his options for the restaurant.

“We achieved a great deal,” he said. “At the end of the day, we just couldn’t make it work financially.”

Relations between the chef and restaurateur seemed strained in a  New York Times profile of Liebrandt that came out early last month, with Nieporent calling the relationship "complicated" and Liebrandt refusing to discuss it at all.

“My whole thing has always been about accessibility and making it easier on the guest,” Nieporent said at the time. “This has been a challenge. Because his food is anything but accessible. It takes submission.”

While Nieporent has not yet decided if the restaurant will close or continue to operate as Corton, he did mention that since the profile of Liebrandt came out, he's been contacted by multiple chefs who were interested in the job.

“It’s less of me approaching people and it’s more people approaching me, and that’s gratifying in a large way,” he said. “Keep your eyes open, because something exciting’s going to follow.”

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