Archive for May, 2009

San Antonio Express-News asks does Damien Watel have “A taste for more trouble?”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2009 by Do Bianchi


carla_forkMay 31, 2009

By Jennifer Hiller – Express-News

(Photo by SO’R International)

Stone Oak’s rotund, curvy fork sculpture is now concealed behind a stucco wall approved by a property owners group. But Saturday, the wall was covered with artwork that could lead to another flap with the Stone Oak Property Owners Association.

The wall had represented a compromise between the association and the Vatel Restaurant Group, which this year installed the 14-foot sculpture outside new French restaurant Ciel, Italian restaurant Ciao2 and the Green Lantern bar on Stone Oak Parkway.

Chef and restaurant owner Damien Watel developed the property, called Plaza Ciel, and commissioned San Antonio artist Gilbert Duran to design the sculpture.

The problem was that Watel considered the fork to be art, while the property owners association saw it as a giant unapproved sign. Stone Oak regulations specify that improvements — including sidewalks, fencing, new buildings — require preapproval, which Watel did not have.

Click here to read more…


Damien Vatel unveils wall veiling Duran Fork Sculpture at Ciel Plaza

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2009 by Do Bianchi


“It’s a really depressing day,” noted Vatel Restaurant Family publicist Cristine Vasquez, president of SO’R International PR, as Damien Watel put the final touches on the wall that veils the Gilbert Duran Fork Sculpture at Ciel Plaza today.

Journalists, patrons, and fans gathered to watch on as Damien — owner, chef, and developer of Ciel Plaza on Stone Oak Parkway in north San Antonio (above) — inaugurated the wall which blocks view of the work of art from Stone Oak Parkway. Damien commissioned the sculpture after opening Ciel Plaza, which features his two newest restaurants, Ciel and Ciao 2.

Damien was forced to construct the wall by the Stone Oak Property Owners Association who has claimed that the fork was in violation of zoning laws, calling it advertising instead of a work of art.


The wall (above) was completed a few days ago and was painted today by construction workers before Damien added the final touch: a red silhouette of the fork, reminiscent, he noted, of a devil’s pitchfork.


Onlookers were treated to mimosas and croissants from Bistro Vatel Bakery, which helped to soothe the pain at watching a great work of art be censored.

Photos courtesy Mosaic Wine Group.

Another Brick in the Wall

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel with tags , , , , on May 28, 2009 by Do Bianchi


The censorship wall around the Duran Fork sculpture has been completed at at Ciel Plaza on Stone Oak Parkway. Please join us on Saturday at noon for its official unveiling and unveiling party at Ciel.

Saturday, May 30
12 p.m.
Ciel Plaza
20626 Stone Oak Pkwy
San Antonio, TX‎
(210) 481-7001‎

It’s a sign! It’s a sculpture! It’s a “Fork”! Censorship wall to be unveiled on Saturday May 30

Posted in art, Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel with tags , , , , , on May 26, 2009 by Do Bianchi

Saturday, May 30
12 p.m.
Ciel Plaza

20626 Stone Oak Pkwy
San Antonio, TX‎
(210) 481-7001‎

It’s a sign! It’s a sculpture! It’s a “Fork”! Superman’s theme is used daily by Stone Oak Community. But this time not even Superman will save the “Fork” from Stone Oak homeowner association’s attacks.

When one drives by 20626 Stone Oak Parkway and a Fork sculpture emerges into sight, confusion settles in. What is that doing there? On April 1, 2009 Mr. Watel, renowned French chef and president of the Vatel Group, held the ribbon cutting ceremony of what he describes as “a post modern structure, premier shopping and dining complex overlooking the Hill Country.”

Since then Mr. Watel has been featured and many stories about the infamous Fork. Stone Oak HOA claims that he is infringing rules and regulations of the association architectural bylaws, and has offered a solution: a wall must be erected on the sidewalk to help hide the sculpture from street view or else.

The homeowner association claims that the Fork is advertisement for his two restaurants housed in the building: Ciel and Ciao2 and that the “improvement application” was never sent for approval; Mr. Watel denies the advertisement claim, stating that the sculpture created by local artist Gilbert Duran, was commissioned by him because he wanted to enhance the Stone Oak community with public art.

He also claims that the application was not done because there is no mention in the bylaws whatsoever regarding public art. When approached by the homeowner association to move it, take it down completely or be penalized, he requested the right to apply. The request was granted prefaced by an email stating that verbal refusal had already been discussed, so it would be a moot point to apply. He applied anyway, and it was denied; appealed and denied again.

The wall will be finished by May 27 to meet compliance, and on May 30 Mr. Watel, President of the Vatel Group, will be unveiling the wall. Local artists are invited, including the original artist Gilbert Duran, to come turn what some are calling oppression of Art and freedom of speech into yet another art event. This sadly comes at a time where the City of San Antonio is trying so hard to promote public art and will be inaugurating the river extension art project.

Damien Watel on censorship of the Duran Fork

Posted in Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel, Press with tags , , , , , , , on May 24, 2009 by Do Bianchi


Owner of Ciel and Ciao 2 and developer of Ciel Plaza on Stone Oak Parkway speaks to Kens 5 News about the Stone Oak Property Owners Association’s censorship of the Duran Fork sculpture and the wall he has been forced to construct to block its view from the street. Click the image above to watch the report.

Photo courtesy Mosaic Wine Group.

Partying down with paella at Ciel Plaza

Posted in Ciao 2, Ciel, Ciel Plaza, Damien Watel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2009 by Do Bianchi


Ciel Plaza
Ciel and Ciao 2
20626 Stone Oak Pkwy
San Antonio, TX‎
(210) 481-7001‎

Damien Watel and all of us at the Vatel Restuarant Family would like thank everyone who came out to party down with Ciao 2 Chef Patrick Edward’s excellent paella yesterday evening at Ciel Plaza. Chef Patrick has been cooking professionally for 10 years and he joined us at Ciao Lavanderia more than 6 years ago. Bravo Patrick! The paella was DELICIOUS!


The patio at Ciel Plaza is a family-friendly environment and a great place for private parties.


Ciao 2 pizzaiolo and Chef Chris Nelson makes all of our pizzas using this specially designed wood-fired ovens, like the ones used to make pizza in Italy.


Latino music recording artist James Martin and his band Medianoche provided the beat. Check out James’s myspace here.

Thanks again everyone, for coming out to share the paella love! We hope to see you again soon at Ciel for fine French cuisine (open lunch and dinner) or Ciao 2 for casual, fun Italian fare.

If you’d like to join our mailing list, please sending us an email by clicking here.

Chefs Clint Connaway (Ciel) and Patrick Edwards (Ciao 2) on WOAI

Posted in Ciao 2, Ciel, food and wine with tags , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Do Bianchi

shelly_milesClick on the link to check out chefs Clint Connaway (Ciel) and Patrick Edwards (Ciao 2) on WOAI with our favorite local television personality, Shelly Miles (that’s her left and man, that soup is HOT!).

Here’s chef Clint’s Melon Soup recipe (as featured on the show):

    A tasty dish by Chef Clint Connaway from Ciel Restaurant.


    * 1 large ripe Cantaloupe
    * 1 cup Pinot Grigio
    * 1/2 cup Sugar
    * 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
    * 1/4 cup Lime Juice
    * 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
    * 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
    * 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

    Method: Peel, Seed and Cube Melon. Reserve in a mixing Bowl. Add Sugar, salt, lime juice, lemon juice and cayenne to melon. Mix thoroughly. Chill for 3 to 4 hours so flavors incorporate throughout. Blend in blender and serve with Lemon whipped Cream and mint.

    For Lemon Whipped Cream: Whip 1/4 cup Whipping Cream, add lemon juice to taste.