Emma Hearst Leaves Kitchen at Sorella, Molly Nickerson Steps In


News from Sorella: Chef Emma Hearst has left the kitchen, though she remains as co-owner and will continue working on the restaurant’s cookbook with co-owner Sarah Krathen.

Hearst, who was just 23 when she opened the Lower East Side restaurant and wine bar in 2008, is taking some time away to travel.

I reviewed the restaurant in August, noting that many of Sorella’s greatest hits (like the duck-fat muffin with chicken-liver mousse, for example) remained on the menu untouched.

Chef Molly Nickerson has taken over Sorella’s kitchen and is beginning to update the menu, keeping with Hearst’s Italian sensibility: The new lasagna for two ($28) is made with braised rabbit, prosciutto-cotto bechamel, olives, and fennel. The agnolotti ($17) now features celery root, oxtail, and brown butter (the house pasta dough recipe has also been updated).

Nickerson is a friend of the owners and went to culinary school with Hearst and Krathen. She was a sous chef at Sorella in its early days, and helped open Lincoln with Jonathan Benno. Most recently, she cooked at Marea.

Will the new chef shape the gnocchi a little bigger? Time will tell.