Acclaimed Olamaie co-executive chef Grae Nonas is leaving the restaurant to pursue his own venture. That new place will focus on fish and will be called Aya, named after his daughter, with details to come later.
Nonas opened Olamaie with owner, co-executive chef, and friend Michael Fojtasek in August 2014. After his departure, Fojtasek will continue to helm the restaurant.
Nonas’ last day in Olamaie’s kitchen will be on Sunday. Despite that, he will still represent the restaurant, alongside Fojtasek, at Portland’s food festival Feast in the fall.
Before opening Olamaie, Nonas worked at Son of a Gun in Los Angeles, where he met Fojtasek. The two moved to Austin to open the modern Southern restaurant.
Nonas was a James Beard Award finalist this year in the Rising Star of the Year category. In 2015, Eater named the duo as the best chefs of the year. They also landed in Food & Wine’s best new chefs that same year. Eater critic Bill Addison named Olamaie as one of 2015's best new restaurants in the country.