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Sovereign Vietnamese Kitchen & Bar Splits With Founding Chef

Iron Chef Vietnam Michael 'Bao' Huynh exits the just-opened restaurant.

Sovereign Kitchen & Bar, which opened in the Gaslamp earlier this month and was designed to be a showcase for the long-awaited comeback of Michael 'Bao' Huynh, is no longer connected with the globally-acclaimed chef.

Though Huynh was in town in May to launch Food Shop, the grab-and-go accompaniment to Sovereign, the chef recently contacted Eater to share that he is currently back in Vietnam where he'll open a new restaurant next month.

So what will happen to Sovereign, whose menu was based on Huynh's signature Vietnamese cuisine? Owner Alex Thao (Rama, Lucky Liu's) says, "We have decided to part ways with Michael Bao and move in a different direction with Daniel Nguyen who was the sous chef and has now been promoted to executive chef. Daniel was the former sous chef at the Evason's Six Senses Ana Mandara Resort in Nha Trang. Due to Michael's previous television engagements and traveling commitments we needed someone here on-site fully committed and on the same page as our management team to be able to showcase our project. Our management team has always believed in this project and had different visions of the menu and what it should be. We believe that now with Daniel as the new culinary director that we have found someone with the same vision and commitment as the ownership. We are excited for Daniel to showcase his food and introduce San Diego to an experience like no other. We wish Michael the best in his future endeavors."

But this may not be Huynh's last hurrah in San Diego; the chef tells Eater that he will likely return to work on a different restaurant project in another neighborhood.

Sovereign Kitchen & Bar

467 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101, USA