Eleven years ago, Wade Kirwan wandered into Vesta Dipping Grill, at 1822 Blake Street, and snagged a gig as a line cook. Just five weeks later, he was elevated to the sous chef position, which was followed by an executive sous chef stint and then five years as executive chef -- a long, productive stretch that will end on August 2, Kirwan's last day cooking alongside fellow chefs Matt Selby, Brandon Foster and Kenny Turk. "It's time for me to move on and do something else for a while," Kirwan says. "I'm just really burned out, and I need to take a step back to rejuvenate and do some soul-searching to figure out what I want to do next."
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Kirwan, who's also done kitchen time in San Francisco's Farallon and Jax-Denver, describes this as a positive step -- for him, and for the restaurant. "I loved my time at Vesta -- loved everything about it -- and I can't even begin to tell you how much I've grown and what a fantastic company it is," he explains. "Just because I'm moving out of the house, so to speak, it doesn't mean that I'm no longer part of the family. I love these guys; they're my brothers."
While he contemplates his next move, Kirwan plans to work part-time for a friend who prints T-shirts and bumperstickers, ride his motorcycle and hang out with his buddies, including Selby. "I was working so much that I never had time to spend with my friends, but now I can actually call Matt and say, 'Hey, let's have lunch,' which is something I'm really looking forward to."