|Chefs Brian Malarkey and Joe Magnanelli|
Less than a year after launching celebrity chef Brian Malarkey's downtown San Diego asian fusion restaurant Anime, Chef Joe Magnanelli has left the employ of Puffer Malarkey Collective.
In early 2019, after more than a decade with San Diego-based Urban Kitchen Group (Cucina Urbana, Cucina Sorella, Cucina Enoteca), Chef Joe Magnanelli announced he would be joining the team of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey to take the Executive Chef role at Animae - a $5.5 million dollar, upscale Asian fusion restaurant that opened last September within the luxurious Bosa Pacific Gate high-rise building in downtown San Diego.
Word on the street is that Malarkey and Magnanelli have butted heads for awhile now, leading to the chef ultimately leaving the company, allegedly not by choice. Being that Anime has been closed since March 15, Malarkey likely wanted to get a new lead in the kitchen prior to reopening in the near future. We reached out for comment to Magnanelli via social media and representatives of Puffer Malarkey Collective by email but did not receive a response by the time of publishing.
Joe Magnanelli joined Tracy Borkum's Urban Kitchen Group in mid-2006 as the chef de cuisine at the now-defunct Chive. In 2008, Joe took the reigns at the company's Laurel restaurant + bar, which in 2009, transformed into what is now CUCINA urbana. In late 2011, Magnanelli assisted Tracy Borkum in the opening of a second Cucina concept in Orange County - Cucina Enoteca in Newport Beach. Magnanelli had helped with the company's growth as Corporate Executive Chef, including the openings of Cucina Sorella in San Diego's Kensington, and additional Cucina Enoteca restaurants in Del Mar and Irvine, CA, until departing in January 2019.