What happened to Nate Appleman after he left Pulinos? The answer is kind of extraordinary: A source told us that a week ago he started a corporate gig at Chipotle, and a call to the chef confirms that hes working out of the chains Chelsea location. I make burritos, the Beard Rising Star chef says. You can find me in the store making burritos day after day thats what I do. Of course, its not that simple. Appleman says hes learning the system with a larger goal in mind: Steve Ells has hired him full-time with an eye toward improving the model, and focusing on cooking techniques and getting better ingredients.
Appleman says that although he welcomed the opportunity to get out of the blogger spotlight (indeed when he heard from us, he told us Im not in the restaurant business anymore), the main reason he took the gig is because its a larger-scale continuation of what hes been doing his whole career, i.e., finding good ingredients, raised the right way or grown the right way. He tells us, What led me to this was being able to make a change. I was just trying to figure out, How can I make a difference? Its one thing to be a really good chef and cook and its another to impact millions of people from the farmers, ranchers, and everyone down to the 20,000 employees. As you get older and wiser, youre looking for more fulfillment.
Heres hoping he finds it this gig is pretty much the polar opposite of a star turn at a McNally joint. By the way, Appleman recently tweeted from D.C., where Chipotle is expected to open an Asian concept, but he says he wont be involved in that.