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Chef Ceaira Jackson leaves acclaimed seafood restaurant Bait

Chef Ceaira Jackson leaves acclaimed seafood restaurant Bait

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Bait - restaurant review

Chef Ceaira Jackson at Bait, 4239 Lindell Boulevard, photographed July 11, 2019.

Photo by Hillary Levin, hlevin@post-dispatch.com

This post has been updated with comment from Bait's owner.

Not quite one year after Bait opened in the Central West End, chef Ceaira Jackson and general manager Misha K. Sampson have left the acclaimed seafood restaurant.

The circumstances of their departures are complicated, Jackson told Off the Menu on Monday.

Jackson said she recently tried to give her notice at the restaurant and intended to help any transition to a new chef, but her notice was “ignored.”

Then, according to Jackson, during service on Saturday, Sampson learned the restaurant had hired a new manager.

Jackson herself does not know if she has been officially fired as Bait's chef. However, she said she learned from a third party that someone else at the restaurant is placing orders with its suppliers this week.

Bait owner Kalen Hodgest said on Tuesday, "We made a decision to switch up some management."

Hodgest said he will announce Bait's new executive chef soon. There might be some changes to the menu, but its staples will remain.

"We're still doing business as normal," Hodgest said.

Bait opened last February. This restaurant critic awarded it 3 stars, calling Jackson's cooking "exuberant" and her "a rising star to watch." I also named it one of 2019's best new restaurants.

“To be honest with you, I put a lot into Bait since 2015,” Jackson said. “I even named it. It just really wasn't mine to put everything into.”

Jackson said she felt “disposable” at Bait — that Hodgest had learned everything he could from her and Sampson and could move on from them.

“It's very unfortunate,” Jackson said. “I still wish them all the best.”

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