September brings change—and not just in the weather (maybe). Behind the scenes, a series of chef moves finds a favorite local chef back in Carmel.
Owners Anna and Emanuele Bartolini announce that Brandon Miller has joined Carmel’s Il Grillo as executive chef. The move comes following Miller’s departure from Alvarado Street Brewery earlier this summer and chef Quinn Thompson’s departure from Il Grillo this week.
“I’m excited to have Brandon join our team. His experience with small plates fits perfectly for our vision for Il Grillo,” says Anna.
Miller’s move to Il Grillo is a homecoming to Carmel. Miller made his mark in Carmel as executive chef at Mundaka. While the Spanish spot has since shuttered and emerged as Pescadero, many fondly remember Miller’s signature Spanish selections. “It was wonderful working with Alvarado Street Brewery and they continue to supply yeast, etc., for my rabid homebrew obsession. It’s nice to come back to Carmel to work in an intimate kitchen with simple good food and company,” he explains.
Miller’s resume is extensive. He grew up in San Francisco, spending summers cracking crabs on Fisherman’s Wharf. His culinary career started at the Pacific Heights Bar & Grill oyster bar. He worked at San Francisco’s historic Fog City Diner, then other emerging trendsetters in the city like Paragon restaurant and LuLu Bis bistro. At Tra Vigne Pizzeria & Restaurant in Napa, he cut his chops in Italian cuisine. He was executive chef at the Stokes Adobe for 13 years, departing ahead of the historic building’s revival as Restaurant 1833 to open Mundaka.
Miller will take the reins from former Executive Chef Quinn Thompson, who is departing the restaurant to travel. He’s helping transition the kitchen and worked alongside Miller for dinner service this weekend. “I’ve been excited to have the opportunity to work with Brandon before moving onto my next adventures,” says Thompson.
“I’m very excited to work with everyone at one of my long-time favorite restaurants. It’s going to give me a chance to scour my past experiences of Tra Vigne, travels to the old country and new ideas I have been waiting to try out,” says Miller.
The Bartolinis will close the restaurant for remodels in late September. Plans are to replace the deli case with an open counter versatile enough for both specialty food prep and wine service. When the restaurant reopens in mid-October, Miller will debut a new menu.
In the meantime, look for Miller to begin testing out new dishes as special additions in the evening.
Carmel’s dining scene has seen its share of shakeups as summer drew to a close. Alissa and Anthony Carnazzo debuted Stationӕry in the San Carlos Square and two restaurants revealed revamped concepts, with Lafayette Kitchen & Cafe evolving into Etats-Unis French American Bistro and Artemis trading Turkish for Mexican with the reveal of Villa Sombreros. And later this fall, Richard Oh will revive the former Andre’s Bouchée as Carmel Bouchée.
Il Grillo Mission St., between Fourth and Fifth, Carmel. 238-9608, ilgrillocarmel.com. Dinner 5-9pm Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.