Chef: I Will Return

The reality TV icon is one of San Diego’s best-known restaurateurs

Local chef Brian Malarkey says that following an upcoming six-week leave of absence as chef of popular downtown restaurant Oceanaire, he will return to the job. It was reported on NBCSanDiego last week that after the paid leave, Malarkey would not return.

The “Top Chef” reality TV star said he is taking a paid paternity leave, per California law, following the birth of his now 10-month-old son.

NBCSanDiego made several attempts to speak to Malarkey by phone to clarify several comments he made during an interview at a fundraising event held at Stingaree.

He responded by email: “I will still be employed by the Oceanaire after my daddy leave,” he wrote. “Sean Langlais will be the acting chef in my absence. And again like last night, that's all I can say.”

Malarkey’s original quote regarding Langlais was: “I’m proud to leave the kitchen to executive sous chef Sean Langlais. He deserves to run the kitchen—he’s been doing it for so long.”

The Oceanaire chain of restaurants recently declared bankruptcy, and closed several eateries around the country. General manager/operating partner of the San Diego restaurant, Mike Mitchell—godfather to Malarkey’s son—recently left the company. Opened in 2004, the San Diego restaurant will reportedly stay in business.

Ron Donoho is a regular contributor to and a contributing editor to His Web site ( is dedicated to news, sports, culture, happy hours and all things downtown.

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