Cover Chef Matthew Kirkley joins the Belon team as Head Chef (photo: Courtesy Black Sheep Restaurants)

Three-Michelin-star Coi alum joins top French restaurant; Daniel Calvert departs Hong Kong. New Belon site and look revealed

Black Sheep Restaurants announced this morning that Matthew Kirkley will join the Belon team as Head Chef, replacing Daniel Calvert, later this year. Kirkley previously led the team at San Francisco's Coi to earn its third Michelin star before departing in 2017 to focus on preparations to represent Team USA in the Bocuse d'Or competition. 

Kirkley is a Baltimore native who trained at the Culinary Institute of America. After launching his career at Striped Bass in Philadelphia, he staged at The Fat Duck and Le Gavroche in London and Le Meurice in Paris before returning Stateside to become sous chef at Restaurant Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas. In 2008, Kirkley opened L20 in Chicago under Laurent Gras and, in 2015, Kirkley succeeded Daniel Patterson at the helm of Coi, where he was awarded three Michelin stars in 2017.

After winning the National Selection for Team USA, Kirkley represented the country in the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition in 2019. On his website, he describes his cuisine as "opulent but never over-the- top… Kirkley’s touch is appealingly light, and the interplay of ingredients always harmonious. Unconcerned with culinary sleight-of- hand, Kirkley pays respect to culinary tradition by coaxing flavor from every ingredient, from the humblest to the most luxurious."

In addition to new leadership in the Belon kitchen, Black Sheep Restaurants also revealed renderings for the restaurant's new space. Belon will close its doors at its original location on Elgin Street this October to relocate to a new site in Soho. Joyce Wang Studio has been commissioned to design the restaurant's new home—a spacious venue upholstered in modernist curvaceous banquettes and counters.

"It has been a tough year for the industry and it is tempting to play it safe," says Black Sheep Restaurants Founder Syed Asim Hussain. "But the upgrade has been a long time coming and the Belon team has worked so hard and achieved so much, we just could not bring ourselves to hold back this next step in the restaurant’s evolution. I am so proud of the work Chef Calvert has done, for me, he is one of the best chefs in the world and we are sad to see him go, but we are equally excited to welcome Chef Kirkley and to see the new heights we can reach together. We have an ambitious team who want to see how far they can push the envelope."

As for Calvert, he will be embarking on new ventures outside Hong Kong. "My time in Hong Kong and with Belon has been the most rewarding of my career," Calvert says in a statement. "I am delighted to be passing the baton to a chef of Chef Kirkley’s calibre as I begin a new chapter beyond Hong Kong"

Belon is one of Tatler Dining's top-20 restaurants of 2020, was awards one Michelin star in 2019 and 2020 and is ranked number four on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list.

Belon, 41 Elgin Street, +852 2152 2872 (until October 2020)

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