Michael Bonk, former chef at The Pig and founder of its sibling establishment, The Bird, departed the EatWell DC family of restaurants on June 24, handing over control of the months-old spot to seasoned chef and restaurateur, Tracy O’Grady.
EatWell DC founder David Winer told Eater that Bonk had approached him about striking out on his own, so the two set about to find a suitable replacement. “Michael has been searching for his own spot for some time and still is. We part ways amicably and consider him a very good friend,” Winer said of the recent split. Bonk, who Winer said is in the process of moving to Virginia, told Eater he was in NY on business and set up a time later this week to discuss his future plans (stay tuned).
Winer said Bonk spent the last week training O’Grady at The Bird, a timeline O’Grady corroborated. “It’s only my sixth day here,” she said when reached at the Logan Circle restaurant.
According to Winer, staff were made aware of the changes ahead of time, but management elected not to make anything public in order to give O’Grady time to acclimate to her new surroundings. “We wanted to keep this on the quiet side until Tracy had the opportunity to get comfortable with the kitchen and put her own stamp on the menu,” he said.
O’Grady most recently served as executive chef at Campono, the casual Italian eatery restaurateur Bob Kinkead — one of O’Grady’s mentors — installed at the Watergate. O’Grady’s husband, Brian Wolken, told Eater he is now cooking at Campono.
Per Winer, Bonk’s departure will in no way affect operations at The Pig. Chef Nuvee Netayavichitr has handling things there since Bonk moved over to The Bird last fall.