Follow the chef or the venue? (moved from Manhattan board)
I've had a few experiences when the food at a restaurant i liked, changed for the worse because the chef left...and I would love to find out where the guy went but it never occurs to me to ask the chef's name at a lesser profile restaurants. (at higher profile for that matter also, but then that's usually known). Management (obviously) doesn't tell where he moved on to. Does anyone else have that experience? Would you also follow the guy to a new place? How tough is it to find lesser known, but good chefs when they move? Or is it quite to impossible unless they've reached a certain well known status?
I would try asking the wait staff or the bartender if they know where the chef went. They would probably tell you. I don't know if it's the same thing, but if I haven't seen a bartender or waiter around in awhile, I usually ask their colleagues where they are. They don't mind sharing the information.
I think it's pretty much impossible to track a chef unless s/he is well known (by that I mean well known amongst foodies). And, even then, it can be difficult. I recall one winner of national TV competition in 2009 - I know where he was cooking then - but the internet has nothing since - he may still be at that restaurant, he may have moved.