Chef change at The Optimist

Wesley True is no longer executive chef at The Optimist. Photo by: Rodney Ho/

Chef Wesley True. Photo credit: Rodney Ho/

There has been a change in the top toque at The Optimist. Wesley True is no longer executive chef at the Westside seafood concept, as first reported by Eater .

Restaurateur Ford Fry confirmed today that True, who joined Ford Fry Restaurants group one year ago after a short stint as executive chef at The Spence, was no longer in the kitchen. The change happened early last week, Fry said.

“We are still on really good terms,” said Fry, calling True “super talented.”

Fry stated that the company is “looking to hire someone else to maintain The Optimist. We are not in any big rush by any means. There is no concern or anything like that.”

In the interim, Drew Belline, vice president of culinary operations for Ford Fry Restaurants, will take the reins at The Optimist.

A native of Mobile, Ala., and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, True has worked at such celebrated New York kitchens as Danube, Bouley and Aquavit. He was nominated for a James Beard Award in the Best Chef: South category in 2011 and 2012.

Late last year, True appeared on “Top Chef.” In a November 2016 interview with the AJC’s TV and radio reporter Rodney Ho, Fry praised True’s food:I was blown away by his ability to create flavors I wouldn’t have thought of before,” Fry said. “His food wasn’t interesting for the sake of being interesting. They were interesting and tasted really good.”

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