In a Facebook post this evening, Chef Justice Neal of Blue Jacket, 135 E. National Ave., announced that he would no longer be working as executive chef for the restaurant.
Neal, former Blue Jacket sous chef, was promoted to executive chef after the departure of Chef Matt Kerley last November. His work included re-imagining the restaurant's dinner menu as well as designing a menu for lunch service.
In a brief conversation, Neal indicated he made the decision to leave Blue Jacket to take a new position at another venue. Although he would not elaborate further on his new role at this time, he did indicate that the move would be a positive step forward for his career.
"I was given an opportunity to move on," he noted. "And I think it will be better for my family. It was just my time to depart from Blue Jacket."
A phone conversation with co-owner Laura Harms van Heijningen confirmed that the split was amicable. Of the departure she noted: "We’re very grateful for the service Justice has given us, and we definitely wish him luck in his pursuits moving forward."
Additional changes are on the horizon for Blue Jacket, so stay tuned for details as they materialize. We’ll also be following up with Neal as he settles into his new position.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.