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For its second birthday, Table & Main in Roswell gets new chef
by Joan Durbin
August 28, 2013 01:32 PM | 3771 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, chef Woolery Back with co-owners Ryan Pernice and executive chef Ted Lahey.
From left, chef Woolery Back with co-owners Ryan Pernice and executive chef Ted Lahey.
Almost from the day it opened its doors at 1028 Canton Street in Roswell in August 2011, Table & Main has garnered raves from diners and accolades from critics.

Now, with two years of solid success under their belts, co-owners Ryan Pernice and Ted Lahey are turning their talents to creating a second eatery just a few doors north.

The new restaurant, Osteria Mattone, will feature Italian cuisine. Currently, late November is its targeted opening.

Lahey, who will be executive chef at both restaurants, will cede the day-to-day kitchen operations of Table & Main.

Stepping in to take over those reins will be Chef de Cuisine Woolery "Woody" Back, who has been working as executive sous chef at Restaurant Eugene under much-lauded Chef Linton Hopkins.

“Woody lives here in Roswell, and we based our decision largely on the fact that he, like me, wants to invest in the community he lives in,” said Pernice, a Roswell High School grad who came back to his hometown armed with a degree from Cornell University in Hotel Administration and 10 years of hospitality experience to open Table & Main.

Lahey, also a Roswell resident, will be working with Back until the newcomer has assimilated to his new kitchen and menu. “Woody’s talented and I don’t have to tell him what to do. That would be a bad idea. But he does need to get our basic knowledge, like where the salt shakers are,” Lahey said with a grin.

Once Back is flying solo, he will begin to add a few of his own touches, which is exactly what Pernice and Lahey were aiming for.

“We had to figure out how to ensure continued success at Table & Main while we were not here every day. Part of it is being able to set your ego aside and let someone else take over. Woody will be able to maintain what we’ve done and begin adding elements of his own to Table & Main and make continuous improvements,” Pernice said.

Regular customers should not fear favorite dishes like fried chicken or shrimp and grits will disappear from the “simple, seasonal, Southern” bill of fare.

“I’m not going to try and reinvent the wheel,” Back said.

But the already excellent quality of ingredients that go into T&M’s dishes should rise even a few more notches.

“One thing I bring to the table is my relationship with farmers and fishermen, built up over the years I spent with Chef Hopkins. I will be seeking out more farms in this area when I start here September 3,” Back said.

In addition to the James Beard Award-winning Hopkins, Back cooked for Tom Collichio at Craftbar in Atlanta. He came by his love of Southern cuisine working at coastal Virginia restaurants, developing a particular proficiency is seafood.

Cindy Miller, who has tended bar at T&M since its inception, will become front of the house manager.

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