Dining With Denise Neil

Italian chef who moved to Wichita to help open Vora now works at a different restaurant

2016: Remodeled Bradley Fair Bella Luna Cafe reopens

(FILE VIDEO) Matteo Taha discusses remodeling the Bella Luna Cafe at Bradley Fair in east Wichita. (April 15, 2016)
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(FILE VIDEO) Matteo Taha discusses remodeling the Bella Luna Cafe at Bradley Fair in east Wichita. (April 15, 2016)

Vora Restaurant European opened at Douglas and Rutan in January, but the Italian chef owners recruited to create the menu and lead the kitchen has already left and found a new job in Wichita.

Giovanni D’angelo, a Milan-born chef who cooked in Kansas City for 30 years before moving to Wichita in December to help start Vora, said he left the restaurant a little more than a month ago. And when word got out that he was departing, he said, he was put in touch with Matteo Taha, the founder and owner of Wichita’s two Bella Luna Cafe restaurants, at 2132 N. Rock Road and at 2441 N. Maize Road.

Taha asked him to work for him.

“It was a better opportunity,” D’angelo said.

He’s been in his new job for a month and a half.

Taha said he was impressed with D’angelo’s credentials and also thought he was a nice guy. He offered to make him the general manager and executive chef of the Bella Luna Restaurants.

“He is very good, very humble and very knowledgeable,” Taha said. “He knows what he’s doing. He has some experience.”

D’angelo, who is based at the Rock Road Bella Luna, is a presence in the front of the house and also helps plan and execute the restaurants’ specials, he said.

Brad Steven, who co-owns Vora with is brother, Brent, said that the restaurant has not filled the head chef job but instead “put together a team of culinary professionals that are working together to maintain and improve a European fusion menu.”

He said they’ve added some new items recently, including a Spanish paella and a bierock with a French flair.

Before coming to Wichita, D’angelo worked as a chef for the Hyatt in Kansas City. He also once worked for Garozzo’s in Kansas City.

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.