Michael Leviton, chef and owner of Lumiere in West Newton, who is known as a passionate advocate for sustainable food, has announced that he is selling Lumiere to his chef de cuisine, Jordan Bailey.
"Jordan is a remarkably dedicated and talented young man who will maintain what you love about Lumiere while invigorating it with the energy it needs for the future," writes Leviton in his December newsletter. Bailey, who has been at Lumiere for four years, says Leviton, "greatly appreciates what we do and how we do it."
Most of the staff is staying on, he says, "making the transition pleasantly seamless." Leviton will be at Lumiere until the end of February, a little beyond the restaurant's 17th birthday. This month, as usual, there are menus for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Jewish Christmas ("for those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it's Chinese food and a movie," he writes in the newsletter).
Leviton was also co-owner of Area Four in Cambridge and A4 Pizza in Somerville. In June, he sold his interest in both restaurants. His former partners, chef Jeff Pond, the brainchild behind the wood-fired pizzas, and Michael Krupp, continue at Area Four. In August, A4 closed temporarily because of Somerville Avenue electrical problems, then announced it would not reopen in the same location, but find another. From 2007 to 2009, Leviton and Krupp ran Persephone in Fort Point, "way ahead of its time," says the chef.
The restaurateur began cooking in the late '80s, when he went to work for Joyce Goldstein at Square One in San Francisco, then with Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque in New York, and at Le Bernardin with chefs Gilbert Le Coze and Eric Ripert, and pastry chef Francois Payard. "It was a magical time," says Leviton.
He has been a teaching chef in Boston University's Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan College for 15 years, since Julia Child, who started the program with Jacques Pepin, asked him to; and he sits on the Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force at Monterey Bay Aquarium, in which chefs from around the country promote lesser-known or plentiful seafood to keep the oceans healthy.
"There's so much in our food system that could be better environmentally, economically, in terms of social welfare, social justice and social diversity, and public health," writes Leviton in an e-mail.
"This decision has been years in the making and is still loaded with mixed emotions. But, while I still have very little idea of what is next, I am excited by the opportunities and for the prospect of a more 'normal' existence with my very patient family."