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‘Top Chef’ Alum Jennifer Carroll Quits Mike Isabella’s Restaurant Empire

The Requin co-founder is leaving to focus on other pursuits

Celebrity chef and Requin co-founder Jennifer Carroll.

Jennifer Carroll, the celebrity chef who worked with restaurateur Mike Isabella to grow a pop-up seafood spot into a soon-to-be trio of distinctly styled eateries, is done cooking at the original Requin in Mosaic District effective immediately.

“I will not be there tonight,” the Le Bernardin alum tells Eater of her decision to split with burgeoning brand Mike Isabella Concepts.

Carroll provided Eater with an official statement about her departure. Fiance Billy Riddle, who currently serves as sous chef at Kapnos Taverna in Arlington, Virginia, and also helps oversee neighboring ramen source Yona and taco haven Pepita, is also resigning his posts.

“After a little more than two years with Requin and MIC I have decided to explore several exciting opportunities. It was a really tough decision for me to make as I have really enjoyed working with MIC,” she writes. Having been drawn to the area to “live, learn and experience the amazing food boom here in D.C.,” Carroll says she now feels compelled to seek out new challenges — including growing the catering and consulting business (Carroll Couture Cuisine) she started while working in Philadelphia, as well as nurturing the new hospitality venture she and Riddle hope to unveil in the future (stay tuned).

“I can’t thank my team enough for all their hard work, long hours, love and loyalty. It has been an amazing journey so far and I am excited for the future,” she writes. “We wish nothing but success to the whole Mike Isabella Concepts team.”

Her exit comes right as Isabella races to firm up the Requin still taking shape at D.C’s nascent Wharf complex, and convert the well-received outpost in Northern Virginia into a more casual brasserie.

According to Isabella, the families with kids flowing through his Fairfax County restaurant are more interested in convenience than formal dining.

“It just kind of made sense for what people wanted in the area and what was going on there … just making it really simple with mussels, steak frites, burgers. A little bit more straightforward and classic,” he told Eater October 13. Carroll had been preparing dishes such as grilled octopus, and shellfish-packed bouillabaisse.

Michael Rafidi, the seasoned chef Isabella entrusted to run Spanish- and Moroccan-themed Arroz at the new Marriott Marquis earlier this year, is now also in charge of the new Requin in Southwest.

“This has been a vision of mine to have a high-end French restaurant. This is what I always wanted,” Isabella said October 13.

A raw bar-centric version of Requin is also in the works at Isabella Eatery, the massive food hall Isabella is planning to open this later this year inside Tysons Galleria.

Requin Brasserie

8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax, Virginia 22031 (703) 462-8662 Visit Website