Kemper Museum Hires New Executive Chef of Café Sebastienne

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Selection made following a national search and a process that included consultation with culinary luminaries from across the region.

Café Sebastienne Executive Chef David Ford

Café Sebastienne Executive Chef David Ford

“Café Sebastienne has long been a culinary staple in this community," said Chef Ford. "I am excited and honored to continue and add to that tradition.

After a national search and a process that included consultation with culinary experts from across the region, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art’s Board of Trustees and Museum leadership have selected David Ford as the new Executive Chef of Café Sebastienne. Ford’s first day at Café Sebastienne will be Monday, May 8.

“We are delighted to welcome Chef David Ford to the team at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art,” said Barbara O'Brien, executive director. “He brings an incredible wealth of experience and creativity to Café Sebastienne that builds on a powerful history and legacy of excellence. I am confident that our visitors will grow to know and appreciate David and his approach to New American cuisine with every dining experience.”

Prior to joining the award winning team at Café Sebastienne, Chef Ford most recently served as the Chef de Cuisine under the tutelage of James Beard Award finalist Chef Patrick Ryan at Port Fonda in Kansas City, Missouri. In all, nearly 20 years of restaurant experience and a passion for Midwestern flavors have contributed to Chef Ford’s development of his signature, flavorful cuisine.

“I look forward to putting my skills to work at the Museum,” said Chef Ford. “Café Sebastienne has long been a culinary staple in this community and I am excited and honored to continue and add to that tradition. Food is creative, and what could be better than sourcing the Museum’s artwork and architecture for inspiration when imagining new dishes?”

A restaurant career that began in Lincoln, Nebraska, Ford traveled and cooked in multiple regions of the Midwest, sampling regional flavors along the way. He found his niche in Chicago’s culinary scene working in a medley of notable independently owned and chef-operated Chicago restaurants including Avec, C-House, Telegraph and Bluebird, before moving to Kansas City. In 2015, FEAST magazine listed Ford as one of 12 up-and-coming “Chefs on the Brink,” specifically calling out the Chef’s mastery and creative manipulation of Midwestern flavors.

“I am thrilled to have David bring his culinary viewpoint to Café Sebastienne,” says Tony Glamcevski, Director of Food & Beverage, Special Events. “His experience has included a wide breadth of culinary styles and kitchens, while working for some of the most respected chefs in Chicago and Kansas City. I look forward to working with David and together leading our culinary team as we continue to stay true to our core values while pushing forth the standards of excellence in food and hospitality we have come to be known for.”

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Kent Michael Smith
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