Reigning Hottest Chef in America 2013, Pascal Sauton, made the bittersweet announcment last night that he's permanently closed his two-year-old restaurant Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine — and is retiring from the kitchen permanently. In a Facebook message, Sauton wrote:
"This month marks my 40th year of being behind the stove. And to celebrate that big achievement I've decided to hang up my apron for good. It's time to step away from the heat of the kitchen and explore my many other passions in life... Tonight, Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine closed its doors for good. No, I will not be coming to you in a few days announcing a new project; I really am done cooking professionally. It's been many years of hard work and I am looking forward to stepping back and exploring all the things I am passionate about while I'm still young and sexy!"
Prior to opening Milwaukie Kitchen, Sauton was the chef/owner of downtown's Carafe Bistro, which he ran from 2003 to 2011 — in his 40-year career, the French-born Sauton has spent time in kitchens ranging from Paris' Lasserre to PDX's Brasserie Montmartre. Milwaukie Kitchen had received mostly positive reviews, especially since launching a full dinner service last November.
Sauton tells Eater this morning that retirement "feels good," listing plans to travel and spend more time with his children. As for being the first reigning Hottest Chef to step away from the kitchen, Sauton says: "Winning Hottest Chef really literally transformed my life. In a good way. It has been so much fun, and I've been able to enjoy it... People have embraced it so much, still joke about it, that I would do it all over again, no problem."
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Photo courtesy Dina Avila