His work at the Power & Light District finished, Chef Marshall Roth heads to Independence

The last time I wrote about larger-than-life (and blonder-than-blond) chef Marshall Roth, he had left one high-profile restaurant job for another (“Checkout Time,” December 13, 2007). Roth resigned as executive chef for the Hotel Phillips to take on the role of culinary consultant for Entertainment Concept Investors, the Cordish Company’s restaurant-and-club division.

But the tall, spiky-haired chef is on the move again. Roth says he loved working for ECI during his six-month consulting gig. “Honestly, it was the most fun job I’ve ever had,” he says. “It was so fast-paced. We would get one restaurant or nightclub open one day and then turn around to open another one…. We were constantly on the go. There were times when it was almost like the construction crew would be walking out of a kitchen they had just finished and we’d be running in to start cooking.”

Roth’s contract ended after the opening of the Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge. But Roth wasn’t unemployed for long. Last week, he accepted an offer from McClain Enterprises, which operates five restaurants in historic downtown Independence: Ophelia’s, Café Verona, Square Pizza, Clinton’s Soda Fountain and Courthouse Exchange.

“Most of those restaurants have chefs who do a great job,” Roth says. “I’m hired as a corporate executive chef to work with the chefs and the restaurant staff in developing new menus, new ways of presentation, and maybe tweaking some of the dishes that are already popular.”

Roth wasn’t that familiar with the town that Harry Truman made famous, but he’s charmed by it. “It’s got great restaurants, shopping, a movie theater and a bowling alley. It’s a very cool town and a great place for a getaway — not too far away, and there’s a lot to do.”

I suspect it will be a bit of culture shock after all those months opening new concepts in the Power & Light District, but Roth tells me that he’s ready for a change. But not ready to actually move to Independence.

“I live in a downtown loft on the 26th floor,” he says. “I can look out my window and see Independence whenever I want.”

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