Two years after declaring he was done with the late nights and long hours associated with high-end kitchens, John Ondo is again cooking at an upscale restaurant.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort this week announced the former Lana chef has been appointed chef de cuisine of Atlantic Room, the property’s seafood restaurant abutting the Ocean Course. Ondo says he plans to revamp its menu this spring, but for now is focused on preparing caviar-topped deviled eggs; butter-roasted lobster and other items that signal the dining room’s commitment to luxury.
“I couldn’t stay away from the hustle,” Ondo admits.
On the first day of 2017, Ondo closed Lana, a Cannonborough-Elliotborough favorite for a dozen years.
Saying he wanted “something a little less stressful,” he joined the ownership team of nascent fast-casual Greek chain Kairos: He’d first worked with the company as a consultant, developing recipes for tzatziki, falafel and frozen yogurt. (And while Kairos energetically promotes its healthy menu, Ondo found room on it for Lana’s much-loved fries.)
“I’m happy for them and the direction they are headed in,” says Ondo, who has formally split with the company.
As for his new assignment, he says, “I’m excited for the opportunity.”