According to a press release, there has been a shake-up at Orange's Ways & Means Oyster House.
Conrad Gallagher, the Michelin-starred chef they hired to open the restaurant last fall, is gone. In his place are two new chefs de cuisine, Benjamin Wallenbeck and Justin Odegard, both of whom have experience cooking at other named OC restaurants.
Yet Gallagher himself seemed to suggest that his time at Ways & Means was always meant to be short-lived.
So I asked Devon Klug, Ways & Means' PR rep for confirmation. I said, "I read on his Facebook that his time at Ways & Means was only supposed to be a three month consulting gig. Was that the plan all along?"
She answered, "For the most part, yes. During his time as executive consulting chef, Conrad helped to not only develop Ways & Means' menu, but also to work closely with Ben and Justin to seamlessly execute the menu."
Gallagher is now off on his own doing pop-ups and hosting cooking classes.
Here is the press release that all news outlets like this one got on the announcement.
"We are proud to have Chef Wallenbeck and Chef Odegard in the roles of Chefs de Cuisine at Ways & Means," says owner Parnell Delcham. "The restaurant has already become known throughout Orange County for our creative, gourmet menu and all-around culinary excellence, and we look forward to this talented team maintaining that standard." Working together, Wallenbeck and Odegard will continue to perfect Ways & Means' signature dishes, with an emphasis on featuring seasonal ingredients and sustainably-caught seafood, while also introducing new items to further enhance the restaurant's menu.
Originally from New York, Wallenbeck moved to California in 2009, and worked at Chapter One: The Modern Local in Santa Ana, and AnQi Gourmet Bistro & Noodle Bar at South Coast Plaza before joining the team at Ways & Means. Odegard, a California native, began his culinary career in 1996, and has held chef positions at numerous establishments throughout the area, including Roy's Restaurant in Newport Beach, Arroyo Trabuco Country Club, and A Restaurant in Newport Beach.