Bourbon Steak’s David Varley heading west
An edited excerpt from the Going Out Gurus blog: voices.
AT STEAK: San Francisco celebrity chef Michael Mina gave Washington colleague David Varley an offer the executive chef of Bourbon Steak couldn’t refuse: the role of corporate chef in the Bay area at the boss’s Mina Group, a collection of 18 restaurants (and a bar) scattered around the country.
Varley, 30, told Mina he had one stipulation: “I’m not going anywhere until we find the right guy” to replace him at the tony steakhouse in the Four Seasons Hotel Georgetown.
Enter Adam Sobel and an impressive resume. The chef, also 30, comes from Las Vegas, where he most recently cooked at RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino; before that, he worked at Bradley Ogden at Caesar’s Palace, which garnered the James Beard award for best new restaurant in 2004, and at Restaurant Guy Savoy, also at Caesar’s Palace.
He and Varley met in 1999 while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and later worked together at Bradley Ogden and the late Company Kitchen & Pub House in Las Vegas. In both cases, Sobel was his buddy’s superior.
Varley, who in his two years at Bourbon Steak helped raise the bar for both meat markets and hotel dining rooms in the city, has singular praise for his successor: “He’s better than I am.” Sobel, who looks forward to Washington’s “great energy” and “educated diners,” returns the praise, saying he has “big shoes to fill.”
The two will have about a month together here before Varley heads west in February.