Celebrated Chef Bruce Kalman Has Left Old Pasadena’s Union Restaurant

Published : Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | 5:24 AM

Pasadena Chef Bruce Kalman, who partnered with Marie Petulla to open Union Pasadena more than four years ago, has announced he is stepping down as head chef and co-owner of the 50-seat neighborhood restaurant and bar that features Northern Italian cuisine.

Posting on Instagram, Kalman, who was a “Top Chef” contestant on TV, said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“It’s been a wild ride, 4 1/2 years @unionopasadena and I’m sad to say it’s time for me to move on,” Kalman wrote. “I’m taking some time to be at home with my son and my wife, work on some new restaurant projects, special events, and my pickle company, BK Brinery. I am so grateful for all the people that have made Union the special place it’s been and will continue to be. I’d also like to thank the loyal patrons that have kept our seats full!”

A New Jersey native who has spent almost his entire life working in kitchens, Kalman is leaving Union Pasadena at the end of July.

Union will continue to operate with Petulla staying on as owner. The two will also retain control of Knead, a pasta bar inside LA’s Grand Central Market, an Eater LA report said.

Union has been popular for featuring a deeply personal, seasonally Californian interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine and for being an “intimate neighborhood restaurant” that brings the farmer and guest together to celebrate the simplicity of ingredients.

Kalman began to hone his skills and perfect his simple approach to great food while attending a small hands-on culinary program at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City. He has since traveled the United States, working in New York City with David Burke at Park Ave Cafe, and in Chicago with Paul Bartalotta at Spiaggia. His executive chef stints span the nation from Chicago to Santa Fe, New Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona.

When he moved to Los Angeles, Kalman opened The Misfit in Santa Monica, serving farmers’ market driven fare, with a strong emphasis on Northern Italian and Mediterranean flavors and preparations. He continued this tradition as executive chef of The Churchill in West Hollywood, where he continued to perfect the art of hand crafted cuisine, homemade charcuterie and pickles, and fresh pasta and desserts.

It was at that time that he co-founded KP Hospitality Group – and its restaurants Union and Knead – with Petulla.

Kalman has made several appearances on many local and national TV programs, including the Food Network, Esquire Network, and Bravo. In 2017, Kalman competed in Bravo’s Top Chef; he was eliminated in the 10th episode.

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