Jose de Brito is back.
The James Beard semifinalist whose two decades in Charlottesville included Ciboulette and a magical run at The Alley Light skipped town last Spring for the Inn at Little Washington, leaving his Charlottesville fans wondering if they would ever enjoy his food again. Now he is returning to Charlottesville as Chef de Cuisine of Fleurie and consultant at Petit Pois.
Both restaurants are owned by Brian Helleberg, who employed de Brito from 2008 to 2011 as a cook and Pastry Chef at Fleurie, a time Helleberg remembers fondly. “Jose’s knowledge, palate, work ethic, and enthusiasm brought lasting improvements,” says Helleberg, who sounds like he can’t wait to get started. “I am excited and honored to collaborate with such a talented chef,” Helleberg says. “His passion for great food is contagious, and I’m looking forward to learning from him and bringing our food to the next level.”
A fixture in The Charlottesville 29, Fleurie’s food has long been beloved by regulars. So, what might de Brito have planned? “I have always considered Fleurie to be among the great restaurants of Charlottesville, and they happen to do French cooking which is what I do best, so there is no better match,” says de Brito. “French food is very diverse and when done well it can be really tasty, so I will push and build all our flavor profiles to make each dish as tasty as I can.”
While de Brito enjoyed his time away, part of what brought him back was the lure of Charlottesvulle. “My wife and I like this place very much, so there is no better place to cook great food,” says de Brito. “I have a lot of regulars, and many seem to like what I do.”
Yes, yes we do.