Rue Cler is happy to announce the next in our series of wine dinners by pairing with Vintage 59 imports. National sales manager Deb Lewis will be joining us to tell us more about the growers and the wines. We are doubly excited because this will be the first dinner with our new Executive Chef, Todd Whitney. Todd has been a friend for over a dozen years and we’re thrilled to finally have a chance to work together. Previously, Todd was Chef de Cuisine at J. Betski’s in Raleigh, Vin Rouge in Durham and a partner in Oval Park Grille. He’s an accomplished chef that would be at home in any kitchen in the country. We’re thrilled he’s here.
While this is our first dinner with Vintage 59, we’ve known the founder, Roy Cloud, for over 20 years going back to our days in the wine business in the DC area. We’ve known Deb for nearly as long and have immense respect for her knowledge and palate.
The dinner will start at 7PM on Tuesday June 13th and cost $79 per person.
The wines we’ve selected are uniformly excellent and the food should be as good as any meal you’ll have this year. Wines will be available for purchase in limited quantities at special prices the evening of the event.
There will be 20 seats available for the dinner. Please contact the restaurant directly to reserve yours: 919-682-8844
Todd Whitney, the former chef at Vin Rouge in Durham and J. Betski’s in Raleigh, has agreed to join Rue Cler as the executive chef beginning in May 2017.
“Todd and I have been friends from his days at J. Betski’s, and I have long thought he was one of the most talented chefs in the Triangle,” said Rue Cler partner and wine director Nathan Vandergrift. “Rue Cler is a thriving business, and we really think Todd can take us to where we want this restaurant to be. We think that Rue Cler can be one of the best restaurants in the state, if not the Southeast. Todd Whitney would be at home in any kitchen in the country, and we’re thrilled to have him. When my partner Wes Rountree and I took over Rue Cler in 2013, we concentrated on bringing the wine program to a high standard by expanding the selection and purchasing Riedel stemware. These efforts resulted in consecutive Wine Spectator awards. Bringing on Todd will do for the food what we did for the wine—bring it on par with anything around.”
Whitney attended the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. He worked in San Diego, Portland, and Atlanta, as well as the Boone area. Upon returning to the Triangle, he worked for Jean Paul Fontaine at Bistro 607 in Raleigh and then became executive chef at J. Betski’s in 2006. He moved to Vin Rouge as executive chef in 2011 and opened Oval Park Grille in 2014. He comes to Rue Cler in 2017 ready to dive back into his love of French food and wine. “I’ve known Nathan and Wes for a long time and the chance to finally work together is a really exciting opportunity. I’ve been really impressed by the commitment and skill of the staff. All the ingredients are here and the potential for what we can do is really high.” said Whitney.
Rue Cler spearheaded the revitalization of downtown Durham when it opened in 2006. Focusing on French techniques that John Vandergrift acquired via apprenticeship in Paris at Épouvantail, a neighborhood restaurant in the Marais. John also staged at the three-Michelin-starred L’Arpège (under Alain Passard) and at Alain Ducasse. Strongly influenced by the trailblazing Restaurant 360 in Red Hook Brooklyn and the nascent natural wine scene surrounding it, Rue Cler was a beacon of great food and conviviality from the moment it opened. Many customers have also found Rue Cler to be irresistible for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, especially the infamous beignets.