Californian chef Brandon Kirksey is leaving Girin, Steven Han's Korean steakhouse and ssam bar. Kirksey tells Eater, "As hard as it is to leave something that I've dedicated so much time and energy to, at this point in my life I want to be home." He'll be at Girin until July 23, but says the restaurant "will be in good hands as other members of the kitchen management will be stepping up to fill my role."
You may recall Kirksey was originally recruited from the Bay Area's Flour + Water; before that he also worked at Ethan Stowell's original Tavolàta location in Seattle. He's now returning to San Francisco as chef de cuisine at The Slanted Door, a major tourist attraction in the Ferry Building and California's highest-grossing independently-owned restaurant.
Meanwhile, some familiar faces have returned to Eastlake. Cody Westerfield worked as a saute chef at Susan Kaufman's Serafina nearly a decade ago; Chris Bollenbacher was a bartender at the same restaurant. Now they're are both at Kaufman's neighboring Cicchetti, Westerfield as executive chef, Bollenbacher as general manager. Westerfield tells Eater he's excited to come back to a company he loves, and says he can't wait to see what they can do with the right tools in place.
It's a fitting reunion for Eastlake institution Serafina, which rings in 25 years on July 17 with a patio pig roast, Iron Bartender competition, and more.