Changing of the guard at Snackbar (20th and Rittenhouse) as chef John "Chainsaw" Taus has vacated the kitchen. Dustin Shockley, who worked at Taus' side for most of his tenure, has taken over. As a Downeaster, Shockley has added a New England focus to the menu, including a dandy clam chowda. Taus, 27, tells me that he needed to move on: Tired of 90-hour weeks. Wants to travel and "take a step back." He's now helping a buddy at Linwood Country Club at the Jersey Shore.
Amuse, a brasserie/wine bar, opens Thursday at dinnertime with the rest of the city's Le Meridien hotel at 1421 Arch St. Right now, bar staff is undergoing training from Tim Laird, CEO, brand spokesman, and COO (chief cocktail officer) for Brown-Forman Corp., a producer of wines and spirits. (To open a bar in Philly, you clearly need an out-of-town consultant, viz Sasha Petraske at El Rey and Alex Day of Death + Company at the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company.)
Taste of the Nation Philadelphia/Share Our Strength has announced the lineup of restaurants and culinary participants for this year's event, which will be June 21 at the Loews Hotel. Jennifer Carroll of 10 Arts will be chef chair. Here's the list: 10 Arts, 500 Degrees, American Harvest Baking Company, Amis, Bibou, Bindi, Blackfish Restaurant, Cabot Creamery, the Capital Grille, City Tavern, Cochon, Derek's, DiCarlo Foods, Fish, Fond, Fork, Lacroix, Le Castagne, Mad Batter Bakery, Marigold Kitchen, Mémé, Mercato, Modo Mio, Night Kitchen, Oyster House, the Penn Jersey Metro Chefs Association Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, River & Glen, Sole Food Restaurant, the South Philadelphia Tap Room, Square 1682, Trio Restaurant, Union Trust, Valanni, Varga Bar, West End Bistro by Eric Ripert (in D.C.) and The Wishing Well. Phoebe Esmon of Chick's Cafe & Wine Bar will be mixology chair. Beneficiaries: Philabundance, The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, the Food Trust, and the Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center. Tix start at $85. Details: TasteOfTheNation.org.