Chef Lee Richardson Leaves Capital Hotel

Lee Richardson, the award-winning chef who in 2007 helped reopen Little Rock's historic Capital Hotel, has left the hotel and its two restaurants.

Michael Chaffin, chief operating officer for the Capital Hotel, confirmed that Richardson resigned last Friday and no longer works at the hotel.

"He's done a remarkable job for us. He leaves us in great hands with a wonderful team, and we are excited about our future," Chaffin said. "The good news is the customers won't notice a difference at all. The team that's been producing the food is all in place."
Chaffin said he was unaware of Richardson's plans.

Before hiring a replacement for Richardson, the current employees will be evaluated and the restaurants' needs will be considered, he said.

Richardson is a New Orleans native. In 2011, he was awarded the People's Choice award for Best New Chef for the Midwest region in Food & Wine magazine. He has also been a repeat nominee for food industry awards from the James Beard Foundation of New York.

Richardson assisted with the design and installation of the hotel's existing kitchens and served as executive chef for Ashley's at the Capital and the Capital Bar & Grill.

Richardson did not immediately return a call for comment.