Chef Shuffle

Acclaimed duo behind top Austin restaurant parts ways and reveals what's next

Duo behind top Austin restaurant parts ways and reveals what's next

Olamaie Grae Nonas
Chefs Michael Fojtasek (left) and Grae Nonas (right) have new concepts in the works. Photo by Robert J. Lerma

After two years as co-executive chefs at Olamaie, Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas are parting ways to pursue new endeavors. But fear not: The duo's beloved Olamaie isn't going anywhere. 

According to a statement released by the restaurant, Nonas left Olamaie at the end of July to shift his attention to a new fish-focused concept called Aya. Nonas' time at acclaimed Los Angeles seafood restaurant Son of a Gun will certainly come in handy.

Fojtasek also has a new concept he hopes to debut within the next year. While working on his new project, he will continue to lead the Olamaie team.

Fojtasek and Nonas — who met while working at Son of a Gun — wowed Austin when they opened Olamaie in 2014. The duo quickly gained acclaim, including Restaurant of the Year and Rising Star Chef of the Year awards in our 2015 Tastemakers and the Chef of the Year accolade in 2016. They also earned a spot on Food & Wine's list of Best New Chefs last year and have garnered a handful of James Beard Award nominations.

"Olamaie is a dream many years in the making, and we are so proud of the work that we have accomplished together," said Fojtasek and Nonas in a statement. "When we moved to Austin three years ago, we never could have foreseen all of the success and support from the local community, and we will forever cherish our time together at Olamaie. We are excited to see what's next for each other and wish each other nothing but the best." 

Fojtasek and Nonas will make joint appearances at upcoming events such as Northern Chefs Alliance in San Francisco and the Feast Portland festival in Oregon.