Aureole Replaces Chris Lee With Christophe Bellanca

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Aureole has announced, via a press release, that Christopher Lee has left to pursue new opportunities while continuing to grow his personal brand. After scoring two Michelin stars at Gilt, Lee replaced Tony Aiazzi at Aureole as the restaurant prepared to move to its new digs in the beginning of 2009, but it received only a single star from Adam Platt, who complained that the more ambitious food at Aureole seems to be frozen stubbornly in the Charlie Palmer heyday of fruit-flavored entrées and too much foie gras. The warning bells sounded when Lee announced his partnership in Las Chicas Locas back in July, and even before that his involvement in an Orange County Choppers-themed roadhouse made his departure seem like a foregone conclusion. His replacement will be Christophe Bellanca, who left Le Cirque two years ago and quickly scored a gig as the head chef of BLT Group.