Rich Sweeney Out As Executive Chef Of San Diego's Waypoint Public

March 20, 2018

Waypoint Public, which has locations in San Diego's North Park and the Del Sur areas, have parted ways with former Bravo Top Chef contestant Rich Sweeney, who has been the Executive Chef of the expanding gastropub concept since Fall 2015.

San Diego native John Pani's ELE Collective opened the flagship Waypoint Public in North Park in Fall 2013 with another former Top Chef contestant Amanda Baumgarten helming the kitchen. In September 2015, Chef Rich Sweeney took over Waypoint's back of the house. A second location of Waypoint Public opened in the new Del Sur Town Center in 4S Ranch in Spring 2017. Sweeney was tasked with developing the menus and overseeing the kitchens at both locations.

"Chef Rich Sweeney and Waypoint Public have parted ways," commented Pani. "Chef Rich is an extremely talented chef and awesome individual. Waypoint Public is grateful for the creativity, passion and commitment Rich brought to the team as its Executive Chef. We are sad to see him go, but wish him nothing but the best in all of his future endeavors.

Chef Rich Sweeney was raised in the restaurant business, having parents who owned bakeries and managed eateries in his native Long Island. After relocating to America's Finest City and graduating from the San Diego Culinary Institute, Sweeney accepted a position as line cook at Harrah’s Rincon Resort & Casino. Through several months learning the ins and outs of the back-of-the-house line, he was offered the opportunity to apprentice under prominent local chef, Chris Walsh, one of the originators of the ‘small-plates’ dining movement in San Diego, at a then-downtown dining hot-spot, Confidential Restaurant + Loft. Starting at the bottom, Sweeney quickly worked his way up the chain, eventually becoming Walsh’s Executive Sous Chef. Sweeney went on to compete as a Season 5 contestant on Bravo TV's Emmy-winning hit reality show, Top Chef.

After Top Chef, Sweeney opened his own restaurant R Gang Eatery in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood, but the restaurant closed in May 2015. Chef Sweeney also won the coveted "Chef of the Fest" title at the 10th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival in 2013 and was the Executive Chef of the Gaslamp's Florent Restaurant & Lounge for a short time.

Moving forward, Waypoint Public's culinary program will be led collectively by a team of chefs from within the restaurant. The Waypoint Public Del Sur kitchen will be led by Chefs Mark Pultz (The Corner Drafthouse, La Valencia Hotel, The Langham New York) and Joseph Grasso (Herringbone, US Grant Hotel). The Waypoint Public North Park kitchen will be led by Chefs Alyse Wallace (Herringbone) and Philip Natsios (The Marine Room, Poseidon).

Anyone looking to contact Chef Rich Sweeney can do so by emailing [email protected] or following @ChefRichSweeney on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.