Some bad news out of the Rogue 24 camp over the weekend: Tim Carman reports that chef and owner RJ Cooper is scheduled for open-heart surgery in January for a genetic heart defect that is potentially life-threatening. But Cooper is optimistic he'll make a quick recovery, telling Carman he's "like Iron Man" and plans to be back in the kitchen within weeks of the surgery.
But what will happen to Rogue 24, a restaurant that is pretty much built around Cooper and showcasing his talents in the self-described "theater-in-the-round" style? Well, Rogue will remain open. Sous chefs Ryan Moore and Mikey Maksimowicz will take over and co-owner Hilda Staples suggests they might get a more experienced chef like Bryan Voltaggio to step in as needed.
Both Staples and Cooper deny rumors that are apparently going around that the chef is leaving Rogue 24 for good following a spate of bad news of high-profile chef shuffles and that whole reservations contract thing. As Staples says: "We built the whole thing around R.J. It’s like taking Mike Isabella out of Graffiato...He’s not replaceable."