Cassel's Pyles-ing it on, Undercover-Style

Categories: Dish
Patrick Langlinais
Marc Cassel -- he of frosty goatees and wink, winks, but seldom the nudge, nudge

He goes by the name Gregory C. Bussey -- it’s sewn into his chef’s whites. But this is a deep cover name. Bussey is a covert operative at Stephan Pyles, doing whips and spats and sautés on the sly. “I’m cooking again and couldn’t be happier,” he insists as his frosty goatee flutters. This is one deep spook, a grunt who earned his stripes the old-fashioned way -- by head-butting through the trenches of Baby Routh and the Mansion on Turtle Creek and Star Canyon before he took command of the Green Room in 1996. That Deep Ellum thing, which he's trying to revive despite its lying cold on the slab, was the best good thing in his griddle-spattered life, and its death rattle pains him deeply. “It broke my heart,” he says.

So Marc Cassel took command of the Dragonfly, Hotel ZaZa’s version of the gourmand’s zipless fuck. Cassel’s positioning was meant as a preemptive strike against the W Hotel’s glittery Dallas musk offensive staged from Victory Park. But ZaZa refused to succumb to see-and-be-scene erectile dysfunction. “The W turned out not to be that big of a threat,” Cassel says. Enter disillusionment. Cassel departed “to pursue other interests,” said ZaZa GM Todd Iacono. “Wink, wink,” says Cassel.

Now he’s poised to do a project with Stephan Pyles, or maybe something on is own. Meanwhile, Cassel’s Green Room replacement, Colleen O’Hare, has been dispatched from Kitchen 1924, allegedly over a 38 percent food cost geyser that held for six straight months. “She overspent her budget by about $1,500 per week,” says owner Shawn Horne. O’Hare couldn’t be reached for her wink, wink. --Mark Stuertz

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