The restaurant business is tumultuous by nature, but chef Joe West has always been along for the ride.
Last week proved no different. More than a year after joining the culinary team at Bread & Butter Concepts as the executive chef at the steakhouse concept Stock Hill, West announced he was leaving.
“We had a successful first year at Stock Hill, but they are ready to take the concept in a different direction, and I was ready to put my creative energy into something else,” says West. “I learned a lot there, and I offered a lot, as well. It was a great experience.”
West was happy at Stock Hill, but he admits that putting out 300 plates a night was stressful, and he grew to feel the volume was beginning to hold back his creativity.
After 10 years of heading up kitchens for someone else, West is ready to own his own restaurant. He's continuing to work on a business plan to open a restaurant that will feature two concepts in one: a casual yakitori, family-style '80s-themed Japanese snack bar and more formal, seven-course Kusshi-style dinners.
West immediately resurrected Kusshi, his popular pop-up dinner series, after leaving Stock Hill. “My first Kusshi dinner after leaving Stock Hill is on Mon., Oct.2, and it's already sold out. I was really honored to have such an enthusiastic response to Kusshi’s return,” West says.
His next dinner will be held at Krokstromm Klubb & Market on Mon., Oct. 16. West has pop-up dinners planned almost every Monday moving forward for his seasonal, modern Asian-inspired fare.
“This time around, I will be hosting Kusshi for less people, and really focus on the quality of the ingredients, china, glassware, silverware,” West says. “I want Kusshi to be a well-rounded, unique and fun experience.
He is also planning to do consulting work while hosting his Kusshi pop-up dinners. “I'm open to what the future holds for me,” he says. “I was uncertain for about five minutes after I left Stock Hill, and then I got to work.”
West leaves the Stock Hill kitchen in the hands of the newly appointed co-executive chefs, Spencer Knipper and Kelly Conwell.
Kusshi Kansas City, bekusshi.com