The Mint Loses Its Chef

Jeremy Clayman, talented chef of Raleigh’s The Mint, is no longer with the restaurant.  According to Clayman, he was dismissed today.  Pastry Chef Eric Foster will also be leaving the restaurant at the end of the month.  Also gone from The Mint is their Operations Director.    No word on who will be taking over the kitchen.  This is very sad news, as Clayman and Foster were responsible for creating some of the most exciting food to hit a plate in the Triangle.

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46 Responses to The Mint Loses Its Chef

  1. Carpe Durham/Reasonably Prudent Person says:

    This is horrible horrible news. Hopefully he lands another good gig soon, ideally in Durham!

  2. Tyler says:

    If you are reading the writing on the wall, it would indicate that The Mint might not be around much longer. I can imagine that is especially tough for a new, unestablished high end restaurant to make it in our current economy.

  3. MB says:

    and I have gift certificates to use! I have been craving that lobster dish for about a month.

  4. JL says:

    Last time I visited The Mint I noticed that the lobster dish had actually been taken off of the menu. What a huge disappointment! Any word on where he will be working next? After being awed by the food at The Mint on many occasions I think any restaurant in the Triangle would be lucky to have him..

  5. MMI says:

    That’s slightly different from what I have been told, specifically as it refers to Foster also leaving in a month.

  6. blah says:

    You are so right, MMI. Evidentally there was an “offer” large enough to keep him there for longer even though he had already put in his notice…money talks, doesn’t it? Prob just to get them by till the end of the year.

  7. Varmint says:

    I’m just reporting what Jeremy Clayman told me. He said that Eric had tendered his letter of resignation, effective as of the end of the month. Whether there is a subsequent change of heart is another matter altogether.

  8. Ryan Reavis-Former Director of Operations-The Mint says:

    I feel the need to comment on this posting. I was the Director of Operations for The Mint, and I want everyone to know that I simply reached the end of my contract with The Mint. There is no mystery, gossip, or anything to the contrary. I can not comment on Chef Jeremy leaving since I was not there. I am, however, looking for a great opportunity in the food and beverage/hospitality industry and you may contact me directly with any leads. My email address is Ryanreavis@aol.com
    I sincerely wish The Mint Restaurant and Raleigh Restaurant Group the best. They have been wonderful to work for.
    Ryan M. Reavis

  9. Change is never easy.
    Sometimes paths part and new doors are opened.
    The Mint looks forward to the creations of Chef Eric Foster.
    He has been the creative force behind quite a few of The Mint’s best selling dishes. We have a wonderful New Years Eve Menu with dining, DJ and dancing.

    http://themintrestaurant.com/events.html

    The Lobster Appetizer is back on the menu.

  10. Varmint says:

    Great to hear that Eric is remaining, Robert. As you said, change is never easy. I’m a big fan of the restaurant and only wish it the best.

  11. MMI says:

    That’s good to hear. I’d still rather eat Jeremy’s food. Robert (and Ryan, btw) — I wish you guys the best of luck.

  12. who says:

    Well, I guess it’s my turn. I am Jeremy Clayman. First, there were a couple of surprising actions and reactions surrounding my release and the release of others? I still consider myself friends with most of the people that still remain at the mint. Eric and I have been friends for quite a few years now and I don’t see any point in letting others pit me against him or vise versa. That being said, there were a couple more surprises relating to him staying and taking my place, but what is one to do? That’s business.
    See food is a simple necessity, we all NEED to eat. The beauty in being a chef is being able to show people all of the possibilities with food and flavor combinations and presentations and etc. The ugly in being a chef is that it is an expensive cut-throat business that causes a lack of focus on how fun and beautiful food can be and enhances the hunger for money- Powerful people making the decisions they want to make and not listening to people who lack that power (obviously that is not just in the food business). As humans we all try to cope with love and lust, hate and greed, the need for progress, want, need, pain and so forth. In that vein, there is no lack of humanity over there (ha!i’m being funny, people who know me can appreciate my abrasive sense of humor, i hope.). Seriously I wish no ill will towards the mint or raleigh restaurant group. There was a move made on my part and a counter move made by my keepers. That’s business. It was said today, ” sometimes paths part and new doors are opened.”, and to quote my mother on Wednesday “wherever one door closes, a window of opportunity is opened.” Here’s to opening many windows and not throwing stones through them. Chef Eric is a very talented and capable individual who has an eventful future in front of him, we can only hope that it is filled with as much greatness as his culinary past. Merry Christmas!
    P.S. the lobster is mine. (ha again!)

  13. burgeoningfoodie says:

    I’m hoping that the success for the restaurant flourishes and brings in a wave of other restaurants to here and the Durham area. Lots of folks here have to live vicariously through what they see on TV or read about as far as culinary adventures go. I’ve heard about Alinea from various sources including stories on Mr. Zupon before he graduated from Duke. I was excited to hear about The Mint and a little weary of it’s price, but it is not like I’d be eating there every day either. I was excited because finally the Triangle area had a restaurant that actually used some of those innovative techniques that come at some small fortunes and plated them for the general public. I think I speak for more than myself when I say that I was hoping for a very successful run in the hopes of how it would influence the area. I still hope that as mentioned above. I look forward to what comes next for both the restaurant and Chef Clayman.

  14. chef colin says:

    It’s to bad things didn’t work out at the Mint for Jeremy. I know how much hard work he put into the opening of a beautiful restaurant. I’m sure Jeremy will be able to continue his passion and drive with great success at another restaurant. I hope for the sake of RTP it will be in this area. As our restaurant owner frequently says to me “Hell of a business.”

  15. W says:

    Glad I’m not a close friend of Eric Foster’s.

    On another note (by another I mean the exact same subject) I can’t wait to get down at THE OFFICE 2009!!!!!

  16. MMI says:

    Ha, W cuts through it all! Nicely done.

  17. burgeoningfoodie says:

    Here is a thought. Open a restaurant in Durham that caters to the theatre going crowd at the DPAC. The venue is nice but the surrounding area is miserable if you want to get a bite to eat. Everything in the Tobacco Warehouse District is booked solid and the other options aren’t that great. Just a thought though I don’t know what this economy will allow for.

  18. Chops says:

    I’m assuming you think Piedmont and Rue Cler is too far from the DPAC? Revolution will be a high end small plates/raw bar place opening soon on Main St. Easy walk to DPAC. Also, Ben Benson’s steakhouse in ATC will be coming eventually. Not to mention Dos Perros at some point……..

  19. burgeoningfoodie says:

    There are lots of things running through my mind from pre-theatre menus/eating times to proximity of the theatre (now planning accordingly with the options available is left up to the attendees). I’ve only driven around Durham and from all the bad press it gets would not go walking at night (and especially not in the cold) through downtown Durham. I’m familiar with Chef Anile’s soon-to-be restaurant opening. I reckon that those restaurants aren’t THAT far from DPAC, but sometimes they can seem that way sometimes when you’re driving around and trying to orient yourself with the city (if you’ve not been there before). Thankfully they made most of the streets now 2 way.

  20. MB says:

    I had the opportunity to dine at The Mint Wednesday evening and this was my second visit to this restaurant. As always, the service was extraordinary. The food however was not and this had not changed from the first visit. Again I ordered the lobster appetizer which wasn’t listed on the menu but was apparently a special of the evening. I swear those ingredients should not work but they do and it is one of the most amazing dishes I have ever tasted in my life. For the entree I ordered ahi tuna peppered and cooked rare. There is no need to ruin tuna with a sauce. The tuna was good but nothing over the top. During my last visit lamb chops were ordered and I remembered them being the same way. The sides for Wednesday’s meal were asparagus, mac and cheese and collards. The first two were good but the collards were off the mark. Our waiter convinced us to try them saying they tasted like his grandmother’s who lived near Johnston County. He was warned that I was a collard snob. I took one bite and wanted no more. Collards should not taste sweet! The waiter had assured me that they had a vinegar flavor. Dessert was the chocolate cake baked when ordered and it was delicious.

    Will I return to The Mint? Yes but only to get the lobster appetizer and have a glass of wine. After that, I’ll travel to a different restaurant for the rest of my meal.

  21. brownspots says:

    I don’t know any other way to get a hold of Chef Jermey but by this blog. I’m actively looking to open a new resturant and will not say where but have worked with jeremey in the past and would love the opportunity to work with him again. I have always said if I took this path he would be the chef that would run my kitchen. If anyone knows of an email or connect way please respond back to chamllc@hotmail.com

  22. I love the spin owner Robert Royster tries to put on things at the rapidly wilting mint but let’s call a spade a spade: In less then 1 year the Mint has 1) lost it’s original GM within months of opening 2) lost it’s floor manager at the 10 month mark 3) shortly after got rid of the “operations manager” that replaced the original GM 4) got rid of the executive chef. Sounds like a complete change in upper management to me! Wow, that really doesn’t bode well for a new restaurant.

    Now, let’s look at that: All of the above mentioned people have had long and successful careers in the restaurant business. The owners, however, well that’s another story. Pizza places and night clubs are not run the same as a fine dining restaurant nor should they be. Maybe the problem is not with the management or the chefs, but rather the owners.

    Since Robert appears so fond of prose, I will offer my own in my best southern accent:
    “If you can’t run with the big dogs stay on the porch”

    Translation: Mr. Royster, stick to making dinner reservations and leave the committed professionals that have a clue how it works to the restaurant business. You’ll be a lot happier and a whole lot richer!!!!

  23. burgeoningfoodie says:

    In the vain of restaurants opening and closing (and not to try and hijack this thread), I’ve heard whispers of a restaurant to open in Chapel Hill called Cypress on the Hill… Does anyone know anything other than the city location?

  24. marync says:

    Were the same people running the Mint the ones that did Hideaway BBQ? No wonder they are having so many problems. Ryan may be a talented, experienced chef but hopefully he has learned his lesson from working with these losers. Word of warning, if you want to open a restaurant in this area, hire restaurant consultants from the area who have a proven track record of successful restaurants. Opening restaurants in Myrtle Beach does not count.

  25. the word says:

    mary nc you have know idea what youare talking about! if you going to coment get your facts straight jeremy was the chef not ryan . rayn worked at hideaway not jeremy

  26. marync says:

    Thanks for setting me straight, the word. I wasn’t sure, just heard a while back that the same people who were the consultants and chef at Hideaway were opening the Mint. BTW, I may not know what I am talking about but at least I can spell it.

  27. Someone says:

    Eric Foster is one helluva great chef and actually an all-around good guy. The comments on here chastising him are uncalled for. When you are in a business and an opportunity comes along you simply have to sieze it. Much luck to him and jeremy and I wish them both nothing but success in everything they do.

  28. curious says:

    Can’t figure out why they are still advertising Jeremy Clayman as the head chef on the website if he is no longer there. Weird.

  29. MMI says:

    All evidence to the contrary, eh, Someone? Fact is, this is the 2nd Exec. Chef (in a row?) he has worked with and been “best friends” with that ended up hating his guts (my phrasing). I call that a track record.

  30. Wondering says:

    What is this i hear about a new owner/sous chef?? And what about the sous chefs already in place?

  31. MMI says:

    FYI, the new owners look to be taking positive steps already. Thats good news!

  32. yhatzee says:

    just a thought… i know that the mint gets trashed in all the blogs. seems its the sarah palin of raliegh restaurants. with everything aside, if the mint was on glenwood between hillsb..and peace would it be busier? i think with regaurds to the mint, fayetville street will never have the pull that they need to be profitable! thoughts?

  33. Someone says:

    MMI, I happen to know some of the Exec Chefs Foster has worked under and they’re not all they’re cracked up to be either…one in particular has a habit of making wild promises and not delivering, along with his penchant for cheating on his wife. In any area of business, especially in fine dining, you must look out for yourself first if you want even one modicum of success. I think that’s probably what foster was thinking here. I can’t blame anyone for trying to hold on to whatever job is in front of them in this economy and for trying to get ahead. It’s business, not nursery school. Nobody is there to make friends.

  34. ac says:

    Someone, then it shouldn’t be a shocker when they lose them.

  35. NO says:

    Wow. Really classy move someone. When socio-economic status takes more importance than friendship no matter what economic climate, then hope for existential balance is lost. Even during the great depression, people had to learn how to lean on their friends for mental and emotional support. THAT was a tough economy. Sure money is important, but not THE most important. People who believe that moving forward and earning more money and stepping on their friends to get there are typically the same people who think that money buys one class. This is definitely not the case but you are probably blind to that considering how you air others’ laundry in a public forum (again, really classy). Maybe there is something to be said about kitchen kharma when one wrongs others (“friends”) to try and get ahead, yet their moves are still only lateral not vertical.
    On another avenue…. 6:21 am? Do you wake up with this sort of bitterness before work or have we been out drowning our anger? Alone…

  36. itgetsold says:

    let it go guys, these comments started a month and a half ago…

  37. MMI says:

    Sorry, getsold, but I have the sneaking suspicion that this debate will start again fresh in the coming month or two.

  38. blah says:

    W, looks like you were correct. “Office ’09″ begins tomorrow night.

  39. W says:

    Yes! Those crystals are going to look amazing when the disco ball gets turned on!

  40. beebop says:

    Quick question? I wanna open a night club and how do I get the city give me a cool mill to open up?

  41. MMI says:

    Well, I’m sure everyone has heard by now that the other shoe has dropped in the past month or so. Looks like I was right about it all starting up again.

  42. Varmint says:

    Yup, Eric Foster has left the building. This is really too bad for everyone.

  43. Nobody says:

    The pendulum swings in the form of a guillotine or is it vice versa? In the course of less than a year and a half, the mint has fired about a dozen management types. Too many chiefs so to speak? Or is the strive for perfection just that tough over there? Or is it that people are hired to say yes and when they answer truthfully (which can never always be yes), “Off with your head!” Hmmm…. the tolls of jumping into a subculture thinking it is just like any other business- quite expensive, both finacially and emotionally.

  44. beebop says:

    Has any one gone to that mile high bs club that they do now? is it just plane lame? (really bad joke)

    the worst part for Eric is that his stock is so low right now after leaving that abortion.

  45. MMI says:

    Eric’s stock was low well before he was asked to leave. His stock bottomed out when he engineered (OK, “facilitated”) Jeremy’s departure.

    Is it bad to call “Just Desserts” on a pastry chef?

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