OC Chef Shuffle: The North Left, Crema Cafe, Outpost Kitchen And Oak Grill

Photo by Dustin Ames

Did you hear about the one involving the chef who left his restaurant? You have? Bet you didn't know about all five guys we're ready to dish on. Let's break it down for you.

We heart The North Left for a number of reasons, but one of those reasons has left the building. Yes, Aron Habiger has packed his knives to head into Los Angeles. Specifically, Ludo Lefebvre territory. His new digs are rather petit, we hear.

Our next report is more of an update. This week was the first of Taco Maria's guest chef series. Their first visitor was none other than former Little Sparrow Chef (and proud papa) Eric Samaniego. We asked him the million dollar question on everyone's mind, "Where are you working at next?" What he told us was where he wasn't: Pueblo, Taco Maria or the upcoming Vaca.

Up towards Seal Beach Pier, we learn about another change. The kitchen of Crema Cafe owner Tarit Tanjasiri welcomed a new team member. His name-- Erick Simmons. Long Beach locals would recognize him as the chef from Restauration. We knew Simmons from a Farm Lot 59 brunch we attended not too long ago.

The departure we weren't counting on stems from Costa Mesa (and a place Edwin love, love, loved). Fewer than six months in, Chef Andre Sickinger is no longer associated with Outpost Kitchen. His cooking style has left one of the better concepts to launch around here. We wanted to interview you for On the Line! Call us when you're ready, brother.

Finally, we've got a bet to settle. Actually, it's Jason Montelibano of Eats Kitchen that has to pony up. At a recent event, he made a friendly wager with fellow chef Marc Johnson of Island Hotel's Oak Grill. The loser had to work in the kitchen of the other for a night . . . in a dress. Hungry diners looking for dinner and a "show" can find Jason in Newport Beach this Saturday during dinner service. Let's hope he's borrowing sensible heels.

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