Chef Matt Selby and the Corner House part ways: Zach Hendershot named new chef

Matt Selby, who's known for his cooking -- and his signature tattoos -- moves on from the Corner House.
Matt Selby, who's known for his cooking -- and his signature tattoos -- moves on from the Corner House.
Lori Midson

Just under a year ago, Matt Selby, who had made a big name for himself as the chef at Vesta Dipping Grill, a stint he held for fifteen years, exited that kitchen to become the chef-partner of Corner House, a restaurant in the Jefferson Park neighborhood that's owned by Scott Kinsey and James Iacino, president of Seattle Fish Company. "This is just such an incredible opportunity," said Selby when the news broke that he was leaving the Vesta Group, which also includes Ace and Steuben's. "I'm excited to be working with James and Scott. A smaller, more intimate concept is definitely something that I've always wanted to do, and it's a chance for me to really cook again."

And while it took Selby some time to find his footing, his fall menu, which he unleashed in October, was a superbly confident and solid board of dishes that definitively put the Corner House on my list of restaurant favorites. But while that menu is still in tact, Selby is no longer a presence in the kitchen. On Sunday, he parted ways with the Corner House.

See also: New tastes from the Corner House: We're falling for Matt Selby's autumn menu

"We're all immensely grateful for the immeasurable talent that Matty brought to the kitchen, and while we've dissolved our relationship, it was mutually beneficial for both parties to go their separate ways -- and it was with mutual love and admiration," says Leigh Sullivan, president of Leigh Sullivan Enterprises and spokesperson for the Corner House.

"The Corner House will remain a true neighborhood gathering place," she adds, "where guests can come in and enjoy affordable, approachable dishes that embody simplicity, seasonality and comfort -- the kind of food that warms your soul."

Zach Hendershot, Selby's former sous chef (and an alum of Vine Street Pub and Row 14), has been promoted to chef, reveals Sullivan. "Zach has done a damn good job since he came on board, and he's eager, a great listener, super-enthusiastic and he's looking forward to making a name for himself -- and we're really looking forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve," says Sullivan, adding that the chef transition isn't the only change.

Allison Contreras, brand ambassador and cocktail developer for both Peach Street Distillers and Tub gin, signed as the Corner House's new bar manager, taking over that position from Gina Selby, Matt's wife, who departed the Corner House in early November. "Allie is spicy and her personality is full of flavor, and I instantly loved her," says Sullivan. "She's a force to be reckoned with, and I think she's going to put together one helluva cocktail program."

The Corner House will be closed, says Sullivan, for the next several days to give the staff time to regroup; it'll reopen on Tuesday, December 4 at 4 p.m.

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