Transitions: Chris McMillan Heads to Yellow Rocket Concepts as Executive Sous Chef

The culinary team at Yellow Rocket Concepts is getting a big boost. Chris McMillan joins the team as the Executive Sous Chef across all the restaurants.

The new role will will see McMillan take a strong role in leadership, training, management, and creative aspects of the culinary team for all current locations as well as planned upcoming spots. Currently Yellow Rocket Concepts operates Big Orange West and Midtown, Local Lime, Zaza Heights and Conway, Heights Taco & Tamale Co., and Lost Forty. They have officially announced Big Orange Rogers and are working actively on additional locations and concepts.

For McMillan, it is a bit of a reunion with executive chef and co-owner Scott McGehee. The two worked together when McGehee owned Boulevard Bread Co starting in 2006. McMillan later helped McGehee open both Zaza in the Heights and Conway. McMillan also helped open the Fold and most recent returned to Boulevard Bread Co to help launch the Bistro concept for the Heights location.

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“Chris was my sous chef when he first started cooking at Boulevard about 2006 and he was the general manager of Zaza Conway when we first opened. So he is one of my closest friends and someone who philosophically is extremely well aligned with me and my mentor Alice Waters, “McGehee says. “I am Extremely excited to have Chris on our team, and excited to have another creative force that will allow me and all of my amazing cooks and chefs to have even more time to be creative!”

McMillan has become one of the most respected local chefs in the area over the past few years. His recent work at Boulevard Bread Co has turned their Bistro concept into one of the strongest menus in town. We profiled McMillan a couple of years ago shortly after opening the Bistro at Boulevard.

For McMillan the move is a welcome change for a number of reasons. Being part of the strong culinary team at Yellow Rocket, reuniting with people he has worked with in the past, and the opportunities that a large operation like Yellow Rocket can offer are part of the reasons cited. McMillan has made a name for himself being heavily involved with new concepts and redefining old ones, so it is easy to see why the fit works well.

“I loved my time working with Scott and others at Yellow Rocket. I see this as an opportunity to really expand my creativity and have some great chefs working around me,” McMillan says. “It really is a tremendous opportunity and I ultimately couldn’t pass it up. At the same time the existing places run great, so the last thing I want to do is hop in and change everything up. I want to spend a lot of my time observing and getting to know each individual operation deeply before I do anything.”

McMillan says he hopes to spend a month of so in each individual restaurant to get a feel for the staff, operations, and general service flow, then look for ways each spot can learn from each other and capitalize on things every team does best. He wants to start with Big Orange Midtown, which should be good to prepare for the Roger Big Orange location later this year.

The move for Yellow Rocket Concepts is one of their strongest external hires in the company and should really position all the restaurants well going forward.

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Transitions: Chris McMillan Heads to Yellow Rocket Concepts as Executive Sous Chef