St. Petersburg's The Table loses chef Pedro Flores, drama ensues

I received a rumormonger email today that told me Flores was moving on -- possibly to Big Sugar, a restaurant back in Sarasota -- so I called The Table to ask if that was true. Manager Joe Moledo told me a sad story about Flores's mom being sick. "We know he's going to be back," said Moledo, "but we don't want to put a timetable on it. " The Table has two guys in the kitchen who cooked with Flores for the past four years, so he's not concerned with the food suffering in the meantime.

According to Big Sugar manager Kas Iversen, Flores starts cooking in that kitchen tonight. "Eventually, he's going to change the whole thing top to bottom," said Iversen, referring to Big Sugar's formerly Carribbean-cuisine. Huh.

I called Moledo back to get a response to that news and had to leave a message. I'll let you know what he says.

Aaahh, the drama. Once, there was The Table, a Sarasota restaurant that I named Best Restaurant of 2006. When chef/owners Pedro Flores and Rafael Manzano opened a second location in downtown St. Petersburg, things started to go downhill. Both locations were forced to close last year, on the day the new location was named Best New Restaurant by our Best of the Bay voters.

Then, a few months ago, The Table re-opened, with new owners, the same name and largely the same menu. The new regime brought in Pedro Flores to helm the kitchen, a smart move since he was always the better chef of the two previous owners.

Just today, I heard that Pedro is no longer cooking at The Table. Not that they'll tell you that.

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