In a surprising move, Mark Ladner, the executive chef at the recently Michelin-starred Del Posto restaurant — a darling of the New York City food scene — is leaving to open a fast-casual pasta chain called Pasta Flyer.
Ladner made the announcement just before the holidays, signaling that he would leave at the end of January and would be replaced by Melissa Rodriguez, Ladner’s current chef de cuisine. Rodriguez will join the small but growing list of female chefs at Michelin-starred restaurants, and she will be the first woman to head the kitchen of a restaurant that has received four stars from The New York Times.
The first outlet of Pasta Flyer will open sometime next year in Greenwich Village in New York City, featuring a selection of dried pastas, sauces, and toppings for a quick-service Italian experience, according to The New York Times.
Ladner told the Times that the secret to his quick method of cooking pasta was utilizing an imported brand of pasta that can be reheated and cooked in 15 seconds.
Other well-known fine-dining chefs who have gone the fast-casual route are David Chang, José Andrés, and Bobby Flay.