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It’s been a bit of a tough stretch for The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Last month, Tim Kolanko, the chef de cuisine of the past 10 years for the property’s gourmet restaurant, A.R. Valentien, retired from the kitchen to take a job as general manager at The Fishery in Pacific Beach.

Over the weekend, Kyle Bergman, the chef in charge of The Lodge’s more casual eatery, The Grill, announced he is leaving to take over the kitchen at Ritual Tavern (4095 30th Street). La Jolla’s loss figures to translate into North Park’s gain. Ritual Tavern has maintained a solid status as one of the city’s most devoted farm-to-table restaurants. Over that same span, Bergman has also gained a reputation as a slow food devotee who allows the seasons to guide his cuisine while tastefully allowing ingredients to speak for themselves.

Humbly allowing those local gems to have the spotlight while he takes a back seat has actually upped his notoriety, as has his embrace of craft beer as an ingredient and a pairing medium. Ritual Tavern is all about the beer, making this an ideal hire for them, and one that should give them the stability and consistency similar to what they had before their chef of several years, Brandon Brooks, resigned to head the culinary operations at Liberty Station’s SOL Market in January.

Bergman says a big part of his focus will be on whole animal cookery and organic urban gardening, which will take place on-site, noting it will take some time to ramp up both initiatives. Helping him with those efforts will be his “right-hand man,” Kyle Wigand, who is also coming over to Ritual Tavern.

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sundroptea July 18, 2012 @ 7:30 p.m.

Every time I've eaten at the Grill at the Lodge the food has been superb. The beer dinners there are things of beauty. I hope those will continue at Ritual, although it sounds like every night will be a beer dinner there, rather than the spare monthly events at the Lodge. I cannot wait to try these chef's new flavors in their new setting! Consider me a devotee of their genius. Looking forward to it!


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