A new executive chef for both restaurants and a chef de cuisine for Brigantessa are now in place.
Cicala’s departure, announced to Le Virtù staff Thursday, follows a posting on Instagram Tuesday by his wife, pastry chef Angela Ranalli Cicala, that she had departed from the restaurants with a “semi-heavy heart.”
Her statement, however, also indicated that her husband would remain at Le Virtu, where he was executive chef, and at Brigantessa, where he was a partner. The Cicalas, who have been traveling in Italy for more than a month, did not return a message seeking comment.
Now on board as executive chef of both restaurants is Joseph Voller, last at Eno Terra, a decorated, farm-to-table Italian-themer just outside Princeton. Voller started his career as an in-house butcher at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse. He also worked for Jose Garces’ restaurants. Cratil-Cretarola and Lee plan to take him to Abruzzo and southern Italy this fall to immerse him in the experience.
Brigantessa’s new chef de cuisine is Adam Taylor, who moved up the ranks from line cook to sous chef at Osteria before being promoted to chef de cuisine at Alla Spina, his last stop.
At Le Virtu, the man is charge is Poli Sanchez, who has been running the kitchen for six years.
Cratil-Cretarola and Lee did not elaborate on Joe Cicala’s departure beyond a statement indicating their “great respect” and wishing him “continued success in his salumi and tour businesses, and whatever comes next. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished together. Watching Joe grow as a chef and nurturing his culinary talents has been our pleasure.”
Over the years, Cicala’s star rose at Le Virtu, where he steadfastly carried a torch for the homey stylings of Abruzzo’s cuisine; he created salumi in the basement and won acclaim for the 60-foot, single-strand pasta dish called maccheroni alla mugnaia. In late 2014, he became a partner in Brigantessa, a Southern Italian-theme restaurant, about four blocks north on East Passyunk Avenue.
Angela Cicala has been leading culinary tours and plans to launch what she described as a “Sunday gravy experience” called Dinner With the Cicalas.
Joe Cicala, 34, made news again in May when he severely injured fingers in a freak accident with a pasta machine in Le Virtu’s basement prep kitchen.