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Ben Nathan Leaves The Belmont For Chez Zee

Ben Nathan, Chez Zee. [Left: Chez Zee, Right: jdhancock / Flickr ]

Chez Zee owner Sharon Watkins has announced that they've hired former Belmont chef Ben Nathan as their new executive chef. Nathan's a Boston-native (which apparently means he'll be adding mussels to the menu) and used to teach at the Texas Culinary Academy. Nathan replaces Cyril Smith; no word yet on what Smith is up to next.

The whole thing adds a little strength to rumors we've been hearing that the Belmont isn't doing too hot, but chef Nikki Bezak has been hired to replace Nathan, so who knows. (We've reached out to the Belmont for comment and will let you know if/when we hear from them.) Bezak comes from Minnesota where she was the sous chef at a restaurant called Stella's Fish Cafe.


Austin, Texas (March 2, 2011) - Sharon Watkins, founder and owner of Chez Zee American Bistro, recently announced the addition of Executive Chef Ben Nathan, formerly executive chef at The Belmont.

A Massachusetts native and graduate of the New England Culinary Institute (NECI), Nathan brings an impressive background to Chez Zee, including time in European kitchens, East and West Coast restaurants and as a culinary instructor at the Texas Culinary Academy.

In the mid 90s, Ben worked with master French Chef Jean Michael Bergougnous at L'Absinthe Brasserie in Manhattan before returning to his native Boston where he worked at nationally acclaimed restaurants Chez Henri and Grill 23. In 2002, he helped open The Fireplace, a critically acclaimed, Boston Magazine "Best of Boston" award winner.

In 2005, Ben moved to Austin where he joined the teaching staff at the Texas Culinary Academy, one of a handful of Le Cordon Bleu teaching institutions in the United States. While there, he became recognized as an exemplary Le Cordon Bleu chef. Later, Ben was a part of the opening team of The Belmont.

According to Watkins, "You will notice Ben's touch on the menu with the addition of the
Prince Edward Island mussels. The style is simple, the taste divine and the grilled French bread might make you think you were in Marseille or Cape Cod. Look for exciting tweaks and additions to our classic menu."

· All Chez Zee Coverage on Eater [-EATX-]
· All Belmont Coverage on Eater [-EATX-]

Chez Zee

5406 Balcones Drive Austin, TX 78731-4906