Soho’s tiny Thai grill restaurant, Kiln has announced that it will replace its head chef after three years. Founder Ben Chapman has told Eater that Nick Molyviatis will return to his home city in Athens, after 17 years in London, to spend time with his family. In 2017, Kiln was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand; last year, it was named the best restaurant in the U.K. in the National Restaurant Awards.
Meedu Saad, who has been senior sous chef at Smoking Goat in Shoreditch since that sister restaurant opened in October 2017, will replace Molyviatis. Chapman said, “we’ve all been working away on a relaxed pace handover for a while.”
“The change comes at a relatively good time for us, as I have more cooking time now Smoking Goat and Brat [in which Chapman is an investor] are properly open and the sous chefs and team generally is very settled and focussed on the good stuff,” he added.
Saad, pictured with Action Bronson, right, and Black Axe Mangal’s Lee Tiernan in the background.
Molyviatis initially joined Smoking Goat, the original on Denmark Street, Soho in 2015, as a chef de partie. Chapman said he was “instantly a hugely enjoyable person to cook with, he had bright ideas and at his core a deeply passionate food person.”
When Kiln opened a year later, Chapman, who has since the start been committed to promoting and rewarding from within, said Molyviatis was the “natural person” to take on a senior sous chef role, before taking on the head chef position when plans for the second Smoking Goat kicked in. “Through his determination and talent [he] has driven the restaurant to achievements we wouldn’t have dared dream of: from a rare five star review from Fay Maschler to Restaurant of The Year at the National Restaurant awards,” Chapman said.
“What we love about him is that he’s done it all whilst being a humble, honest person usually wearing a Slayer t-shirt.”
His replacement, Saad, Chapman says, “is one of the most talented and gifted chefs I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, he innately understands how precious the quality of flavour of good native produce is and has a fundamental respect for learning the traditions of cooking.” The team will travel to Thailand this week, “seeking again the moments of inspiration that have guided our approach to the menu at Kiln.”
“I’m happy to pass the torch to Meedu and feel really good that it is in such safe hands. I know that we both share the same values and I’m sure that the next chapter will be as exciting for the guests and team as last few years have been. I’ve learnt so much working with Ben and our suppliers and I would to thank all our regular guests for their love and support,” Molyviatis said.
Chapman added: “Whilst I’m sad to be losing my partner in crime at Kiln for the last few years, I’ll always remember working with Nick joyfully… his idea for monkfish liver curry remains [a] seminal dish for me and I of course wish him the best for his future.”
Amid this time of personnel change, Chapman also told Eater that chef Michael Harrison has joined the group at sous chef level across the restaurants. “Michael has worked with closely with a number of our suppliers in Cornwall previously and will be aiding [Chapman] on a number of projects improving what we’re growing here towards a better, more sustainable supply chain.”