The word is not out there yet, so the shock waves haven't gotten too far past Logan Square:
Martin Hamann is leaving after 25 years at the Four Seasons Hotel -- seven of them as executive chef. He's headed to the Union League, which is planning a major revamping of its kitchens and dining. The Union League is enjoying rosy times as more of its members are living downtown. Its chef of 20 years, Dan Reilly, is leaving.
Hamann, only the second executive chef in the hotel’s history, has not announced his last day, but he's expected to start at the Union League in November.
When asked about Hamann's status on Thursday, a hotel spokeswoman issued this statement:
“Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia is disappointed to announce the resignation of Executive Chef Martin Hamann. Marty has been a loyal and hardworking employee for the past 25 years, helping to develop the Fountain Restaurant into the premiere dining establishment in the city of Philadelphia. We will always be grateful to Marty for his dedication and service, and wish him well in his new endeavor.”
The story of the earthy, Delaware County-raised Hamann, 50, is proof that you don’t need some fancy pedigree or Euro breeding to rise to the top. He's known as "Chef," yes, but also as "Hambone" (a corruption of his last name) or just "Marty."
He was a truck dispatcher for the old Bulletin when it folded in 1982. He went to the Restaurant School for a new career and joined the Four Seasons under founding chef Jean-Marie Lacroix as an apprentice a few months after the hotel's opening. He rose to dinner chef by 1989.
When “Papa” Lacroix announced his retirement in 2001 (only to end up later at the Rittenhouse), Hamann replaced him. Hamann did not return my message Thursday night.
The hotel has not announced Hamann's successor, only to say that David Jansen would continue as chef de restaurant and Joe Drago would continue as banquet chef. A search is underway.
Given the Four Seasons' kitchen depth, patrons shouldn't notice much change, if anything.
You may have read about Hamann last Sunday in an Inquirer story about the hotel.