The talented Nicci Tripp, whose sophisticated orchestrations of fine, seasonal ingredients helped reinforce Theo’s culinary reputation for the past seven years, has left the Soquel landmark to become General Manager and Executive Chef at Vida, located at 1222 Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. According to Vida’s publicist, Tripp has completely revamped the kitchen, and brought in his own staff to help interpret the all-new menu.

Commenting on the changes, Theo’s owner Roger Romano told me that he would miss Tripp as a culinary colleague, and wished him well in his new venture. According to Romano, Theo’s sous chef, Nick Pardee and pastry chef Jessica Yarr are taking over the kitchen, and a third chef is in the pipeline. Both Pardee and Yarr are former Theo’s interns during their culinary school training days, and Yarr most recently served as the notable pastry chef at Gabriella.

“They have had the benefit of training under Nicci. They know Theo’s and what’s expected,” Romano continued. “At the same time it is interesting to see them blossom and put their signatures on the dishes here. Nick and Jessica are full of energy and new ideas.”
Romano hinted that Theo’s might soon open on Sundays, and start doing al fresco pizzas on the patio on weekends. Mmmmm – stay tuned. Theo’s – located at 3101 N. Main St., in Soquel.