Chef changes at Verde, Steak 954, Makoto

Three of Philly-based restaurateur Stephen Starr’s South Florida restaurants have made significant end-of-year kitchen changes: 

Steak 954: Nicolay Adinaguev (left) replaces Jason Smith (left middle) as executive chef of Starr’s steakhouse (with a new seafood focus) at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Smith, who opened Steak 954 in 2009, steps up to become the hotel’s executive chef. Adinaguev had been executive chef of Verde since it opened last December at the Perez Art Museum Miami.     

Verde: Taking Adinaguev’s place is Kaytlin Brakefield (right middle), a 2006 Florida State University graduate (and, more relevant to this post, a 2008 International Culinary Center graduate) who leaves her post as chef de cuisine at New York’s L’Apicio to lead Verde’s kitchen. 

Makoto: Starr has dispatched his recently hired corporate executive chef, Page Pressley (right), to Bal Harbour, where he’ll help lead the kitchen at chef Makoto Okuwa’s eponymous restaurant. Pressley joined Starr Restaurants this year after cooking at Texas’ Uchi and Uchiko.