Star Concepts--the group Carlson Restaurants Worldwide created to absorb Star Canyon and AquaKnox after the T.G.I. Friday's parent (presumably) gave owners Stephan Pyles, Michael Cox, and TCBY Enterprises President Herren Hickingbotham enough money to choke a herd of Texas steers--announced several position changes last week. Star Canyon Executive Chef Lynn Saathoff has replaced AquaKnox Executive Chef Mark Schmidt, who departed to "pursue other interests." Star Canyon Executive Sous Chef Matthew Dunn has slipped into Saathoff's former slot, while Star Canyon Sous Chef Marc Gandera nosed up to Dunn's spot. Additionally, AquaKnox Executive Sous Chef Michael Chmar will head the kitchen at Star Canyon, Las Vegas, while Alena Pyles, Stephan Pyles' sister, heads up Star Concept's new taqueria in that town. Alena Pyles vacates her post as executive chef at Soho in Atlanta. Star Concepts also announced the appointment of Mark Kiffin as executive chef in charge of special projects and development for the company, which plans to open five restaurants in 1999. Kiffin was a partner with famed chef Mark Miller in the Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Coyote Cafe.
After more than nine years as executive director of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, Dawn Jantsch is stepping down, effective January 12. Jantsch will head the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce, where she will be charged with expanding the chamber and exploring the development of a convention and visitor's bureau for the southwest Florida resort destination...Though the project is not dead, word is The Dallas Morning News canceled the January issue of its quarterly magazine Wine and Food because of a lack of advertising. Launched in March, the magazine's editorial was produced by the News' advertising and marketing division for the first two editions before food editor Cathy Barber took charge of copy for the October issue...In the wake of failed attempts to sell his Skillman Avenue new American restaurant, The Brick Room owner Dean Ryan opted to close the venue...A sign in the window says it's closed for remodeling; but the Mainstream Fish House in Turtle Creek Village on Oak Lawn will not be revived as such. Instead, the expired second link in the trio of seafood restaurants (the other two are at Preston-Forest and in Sundance Square in Fort Worth) will re-emerge as a new concept under development by Mainstream founder Kelly Haden and his partners the M Crowd restaurant group (The Mercury, Mi Cocina, and Taco Diner). "For one reason or another it just was not the right location for Mainstream," he says.
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