Come Aug. 26, Boca’s chef Stewart Lyon will leave the kitchen he has worked in for almost two years for a chance to expand his culinary skills in New York City.
“I need to gain experience, rather than dish it,” Lyon says. “I need to go work for two years and commit myself just like anybody would if they were going for their master’s or doctorate or anything like that. In a way, I’m going back to school — it’s just a different kitchen, different people and different experiences.”
Originally, Lyon had talked with with Nate Allen about becoming a chef at Knife & Fork restaurant, where Allen is owner and chef. However, Lyon says that now all signs point to New York City.
“My sister lives there, I’ve got some friends that have moved there and, right now, it just seems like a good spot for me,” he explains.
Though Lyon states nothing is definite at this point, he would like to complete an eight-week training course at Momofuku, or do some stages at flagship restaurants.
With his absence, the menu will change slightly. Lyon, who readers named a top chef in Xpress’ Best of WNC survey, says the restaurant will most likely add a “a good bit of the lunch menu to the dinner menu,” and also make the restaurant’s food more casual. He will oversee the menu change and get the new crew in place before he heads off to the Big Apple.
However, Lyon insists this is not the end of his relationship with Asheville by any means.
“I still have my house, and I’m not selling it,” he says. “You’ll be seeing me. I plan on coming back and, hopefully, opening up my own restaurant here.”
But before he can fulfill his dream of opening his own restaurant in Asheville, he jokes, “I am gonna go to New York City to get my ass kicked there.”