Since Big Chile Republic in Colchester shuttered its doors unexpectedly last year, lovers of its Filipino fusion cuisine have wondered where Chef Chris Hechanova — famed for his fish tacos and cauliflower cakes — would go next.
After a second stint at The Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond — where he’d worked before starting BCR — the chef swapped bistros: Since late March, he’s been head chef at Bistro Sauce in Shelburne. Sauce owner Emily Betz says she and Hechanova kept the news quiet at first to ease the transition.
Although Sauce’s localvore convictions still inspire its menus, Hechanova is putting his own spin on some of the dishes. “One of the entrées that’s been going over really well is the fish,” Betz exclaims. “He’s been doing it with a Meyer lemon risotto.” In winter, the dish was matched with “shaved fennel and grapefruit.” Currently it comes with a lobster-butter-accented sorrel salad. Misty Knoll chicken is paired with fingerling potatoes and pickled ramps. The wild leeks also show up in an herbed martini on the eatery’s new cocktail menu.
But don’t expect to find that on any given visit — Betz is quick to mention that the menu changes “almost every night,” depending on season and availability.
While Betz acknowledges that “it’s very difficult to go through a transition,” she says her loyal customers have been “receptive and very pleased” with the new chef.