Even though Kitchen LTO was established to be a constantly revolving "permanent pop-up," the restaurant's current chef will be keeping her job for at least another four months. Following a successful Facebook campaign to extend her stay, called #KeepBlythe, Chef Blythe Beck will continue cooking at Kitchen LTO through the end of May.
In this case, the restaurant believes that the will of the people has prevailed. According to LTO owner Casie Caldwell, fans of the restaurant insisted that Beck should stay longer, so they decided to ask their guests how they felt about keeping her around. In December, Beck debuted her "movement" on Facebook, needing only 1,000 fans to "Like" her page in order to keep her job. Nearly two months after the launch, Beck has more than doubled her goal with 2,093 virtual supporters.
Caldwell was quick to defend her restaurant against accusations that it had abandoned its original model, which revolved around bringing up-and-coming chefs to Dallas and allowing them to showcase their talents in an encouraging environment. As Caldwell sees it, keeping Blythe Beck around is "merely an extension of what we set out to do," she said in a press release sent yesterday. "It gives Dallas an opportunity to see more of what she can do. Also, LTO is unique in that that it's an interactive experience from the beginning. The guest is involved by voting for their favorite chef, so we've always been sensitive about listening to what our guests want."
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In the same release, Beck also announced that she would be serving up a new menu at Kitchen LTO in the new year. Many of Beck's signature dishes, like the chicken fried ribeye, will remain on the menu, but there are a few new additions. Keeping in line with her "upscale southern" cuisine, Kitchen LTO is offering dishes like chicken and waffles with bourbon maple syrup, and a delicious-sounding Champagne bisque.
After Beck's second term is over on May 31, a new chef will definitely take the reins from The Naughty Chef. Kitchen LTO will begin their search for the next chef in March, but they're not entirely sure for how long. According to Casie Caldwell, keeping Blythe Beck around for a second term allows the restaurant to explore different term lengths. Caldwell notes that the short-lived nature of Kitchen LTO has been an impediment in attracting chefs from outside Dallas, and the new schedule may actually make the restaurant able to attract a broader pool of applicants.
In the meantime, though, you can still find Blythe Beck and her pink pants on the line at Kitchen LTO, already serving up her newly-announced menu. The move may seem counterintuitive considering the restaurant's original goals, but you'll still be pretty mad at yourself if you miss out on eating that chicken-fried ribeye before Beck is on to her next culinary adventure.