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Side Dishes: Daily Planet hires Manhattan-seasoned chef for 2010

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He probably won’t be whipping up many $205- per-person tasting menus, but this January, Michael Clauss — who most recently was executive chef at Daniel Boulud’s Feast & Fêtes catering company in New York City — will take over the kitchen of The Daily Planet.

How did someone with such a sweet gig in the Big Apple end up in Burlington? “My girlfriend. I came back to be with her,” Clauss dishes.

The 35-year-old chef is no stranger to Vermont. After graduating in 1995 from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., the New Jersey native came to the Green Mountains for an internship at the swanky Equinox Resort and Spa in Manchester Village.

Later, after a sous-chef gig at the Tribeca Grill in New York City and a long stint at The Chantecleer Restaurant in East Dorset, Clauss worked as chef-instructor for the p.m. à la carte class at NECI Commons in Burlington and cohosted a regular Friday-morning cooking show on WCAX. He took a year off to do relief work after Hurricane Katrina, then returned to teach his NECI course at what was then called The Inn at Essex.

Until January — when current chef Tyler Lewis leaves to attend the University of Vermont — Clauss will serve as a consultant at the Planet, test-driving some of his recipes as daily specials. One or two weeks into the new year, he will introduce a brand-new menu. “It’ll be super simple,” he says. It’ll also be super local: “We’ll be getting more and more involved with the Vermont Fresh Network and the Cheese Council,” Clauss notes.

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