Jose Hernandez might have upset some customers with his sudden and unexpected departure from Cinco Ranch restaurant La Balance, but fret not. He's poised to make a return to French restaurant Étoile, where he worked for six months earlier this year. He will be the executive sous chef at the Galleria-area spot which recently celebrated its first anniversary. "He pretty much took the position he had four months ago," Étoile's chef/owner Philippe Verpiand said in a statement. "We are on the same page in a lot of different things. I'm glad he's back with us."
This announcement comes after Hernandez and La Balance's Manuel Atenco each gave us their takes on Hernandez's exit, with Atenco saying that he'd never fired him, and Hernandez saying he'd make sure to have something in writing for his next venture. At that time Hernandez also told us that he might open his own restaurant in the future, since "a restaurant doesn't open from one day to the next." Hernandez's return to the kitchen will likely please many diners who have become fans of his work. Even Atenco didn't challenge the claim that Hernandez's talent was the major initial draw to La Balance, and that he'd helped earn that spot much critical praise, including a three-star rating from Alison Cook.
· Manuel Atenco On the Chef Shuffle at La Balance [-EHOU-]
· Jose Hernandez On His Departure from La Balance [-EHOU-]
· Philippe Verpiand on Year One of Étoile [-EHOU-]