Sea Change at Ways & Means Oyster House as Michelin-Starred Chef Departs

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If you follow me on Twitter—I’m @PMMayfield there—you may have seen my Tuesday-morning tweet about changes at ambitious newcomer Ways & Means Oyster House in Orange. I’d just confirmed that multi-Michelin-starred founding chef Conrad Gallagher left the restaurant in December, when his consulting contract ended.

Two Ways & Means veterans, Justin Odegard (left photo) and Benjamin Wallenbeck (right photo), will be taking over, partnering in the kitchen as co-chefs de cuisine. Gallagher said of the switchover, “I was hired as a consultant to help develop the menu, serve as chef for a short period, and train the new chefs. My contract was always meant to be short-term, and it finished once the restaurant was up and running. It was a gratifying project and I wish them all the best.”

The new chefs covered a range of Orange County dining before landing at Ways & Means. Odegard previously worked at the Arroyo Trabuco Country Club in Mission Viejo, and Roy’s and A Restaurant in Newport Beach. Wallenbeck did stints at Chapter One in Santa Ana, and more recently, Anqi in South Coast Plaza.

In December I wrote in Taste of Orange County about the pristinely fresh and beautifully presented oysters I had at Ways & Means—with no idea of Gallagher’s imminent departure. While chefs come and go, and the tremendous buzz surrounding the restaurant’s opening has cooled a bit, oysters with classic mignonette are eternal. Or so I hope.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Paula Lindsey

    January 29, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I am so proud of Mr. Justin Odegard….he has a magical way of displaying his food, and wants the best and the fresh for his customers….anything that I have tasted of Mr. Odegard’s has been nothing but pleasing to the taste buds, and for me wanting more!! Continued success will definitely be in his favor!!
    Good luck in your new partnership!!