Since opening in the summer of 2014, Olamaie has achieved considerable success under the guidance of co-executive chefs, a tandem approach rarely seen in Austin restaurants. The partnership between friends Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas will come to an end at the end of this month, as Nonas is leaving the refined Southern restaurant to embark on his own project.
Nonas, who worked with Fojtasek at Son of a Gun in Los Angeles (a restaurant run, not coincidentally, by co-executive chefs), intends to open a fish-centric restaurant in the future named Aya, with details expected soon. Fojtasek will continue to helm the restaurant I named the best in Austin last year and also has plans to open a new concept in Austin next year.
Under their stewardship, Olamaie was named a 2015 James Beard Awards semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and the chefs were honored as two of the Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine last year. Nonas has also received semifinalist nods for Rising Star Chef of the Year the past two years by the James Beard Foundation.
“Olamaie is a dream many years in the making, and we are so proud of the work that we have accomplished together,” the chefs said in a prepared statement. “When we moved to Austin three years ago, we never could have foreseen all of the success and support from the local community, and we will forever cherish our time together at Olamaie. We are excited to see what’s next for each other and wish each other nothing but the best.”
Fojtasek and Nonas, who have been planning the separation for a few months, will participate together at the Northern Chefs Alliance in San Francisco next weekend and at Feast Portland in September.
- Related: Olamaie #1 in Austin360 Dining Guide