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.