Huffpost DC

R.J. Cooper's Rogue 24 Pastry Chef Chris Ford Calls It Quits

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
CHRIS FORD
Pastry chef Chris Ford, in happier times, behind Rogue 24 in Blagden Alley. | HuffPost DC

WASHINGTON -- After only six months on the job, pastry chef Chris Ford has left the kitchen at Rogue 24, citing personality clashes with head chef and owner R.J. Cooper.

The much-hyped exhibition-style restaurant's 24-course dining concept has received a mixed bag of attention from the press since its debut in July. The Washington Post's Tom Sietsema profiled Cooper's new creation in his First Bite column (which was not without controversy), but noted that the experimental dining experience "won't be for everyone," and that he went home hungry enough to scarf down a cup of Goldfish afterward.

Not long after, Rogue's overly fussy, two-page dining contract had diners up in arms. Cooper later reversed some of its more controversial measures, like a 100 percent charge for cancellations made after 3 p.m. and guests more than 30 minutes late.

Most recently, Washington City Paper's Chris Shott delivered a bite-by-bite review of his experience, big on snark and short on praise. Like Sietsema, he too left hungry. "I'm sort of in the mood to grab a half-smoke on the way home," he concluded.

Ford's departure comes amid others -- chef de partie Gregory Baumgartner is also leaving, Sietsema tweeted Tuesday, and the restaurant's PR team quit in August. In an interview with Eater, Ford downplayed the drama. "People just don't mesh. It wasn't a horrendous mess, it wasn't a blowout fight."

Ford plans to thrust his energies into the upcoming StarChefs International Pastry competition, which goes forward in New York City this weekend. On its official website, Ford is still listed as representing Rogue 24.

WATCH: R.J. Cooper on "Iron Chef America"

CORRECTION: In earlier version of this post, we incorrectly cited Washington Post food reviewer Tom Sietsema as giving Rogue 24 two and a half stars. Washington Post readers had rated Rogue 24 with two and a half stars. This post has been updated.

Around the Web

Chef R.J. Cooper to Open Rogue 24: DCist

Chef R.J. Cooper Leaves Vidalia - Young & Hungry

Chef RJ Cooper of Vidalia–DC Rising Stars on StarChefs.com

Marc Forgione vs R.J. Cooper in Iron Chef Battle Bell Peppers ...

Rogue24

Chef RJ Cooper on "Iron Chef America" - YouTube