Photo by Kieran Wagner
Spring is a time for new beginnings and that's never been truer for chef Aaron Hoskins.
The Rogue Gentlemen's executive chef is off to another state, and another restaurant, and, we hope, another menu of beautifully plated, elegantly executed dishes at the start of May. Due to legal and professional constraints, Hoskins can't name his new location — or his new employer — but he says the position is a dream come true.
“[My new boss] is someone I definitely would have named as a chef that was an influence on me or that I loved their style," Hoskins says. "There’s a handful of smaller, not-as-well-known guys that I could name in that realm and he was definitely one of them, which is why this offer was really hard to refuse. It’s almost like a dream-job level for me. He’s someone I really admire and he’s very talented."
This James Beard Award-nominated Chef-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named first noticed Hoskins at an event some time ago, finding the young Richmonder to be a perfect fit for his restaurant's creative vision. With plans to launch a new venture later this year, he approached Hoskins to run the kitchen at his award-winning restaurant.
Hoskins, who played a large part in developing The Rogue Gentlemen and also spent time in the kitchens of Secco Wine Bar, 2113 Bistro and The Empress, will be parting ways with Virginia to become chef de cuisine, though he knows he'll miss Richmond and its dining scene.
“I’m not from here, but it’s become a second home," he says. "This is where I made a career and started to make a career, and made a lot of friends and met a lot of people that I really like and care about. It’s definitely weird to be leaving; I wasn’t really planning on it or even wanting to until this offer came up.”
John Maher, The Rogue Gentlemen's owner and a former chef himself, is currently looking for a replacement, but shares that the split isn't just amicable — it's understandable.
“If there is anyone that can understand what he’s doing, it’s me, because I was in his same position," Maher says. "I would get an offer when I was cooking and I couldn’t turn it down; you have to go and continue your career. He’s got a lot of time and energy and the ability to move around and cook with the best, so we’re very happy for him.”
Fans of The Rogue Gentlemen shouldn't distress; though Hoskins will leave in mid-April, Maher says he's already received a few promising leads on a new chef and is sure they can continue and even further their high-quality concept.
“We don’t want to change what we started, but we do want to continue to evolve it, if that makes sense," Maher explains. "It’s going to be hard to find someone with the artistic eye that Aaron has, or that I have, so we’re going to adapt to what we have and what we can get, but I’m confident that we can continue our same level of technique and execution and style of cooking.”