Big news from the Windy City today, as it seems that longtime executive chef of the world-famous Next, Dave Beran, will be leaving the restaurant and making the move to Los Angeles.
Just as Chicago recently nabbed iconic LA barman Julian Cox, the City of Angels will now have the opportunity to learn from (and appreciate) Beran’s unique style of cooking, which has been on display since day one at Next. For those unfamiliar, Next is part of the Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz Alinea restaurant empire, a constantly changing eatery that rotates into a completely new menu every few months. The Chicago Tribune first caught wind of the news, adding that Beran’s last day will be Sunday. After that, current Next chef de cuisine (and James Beard award finalist) Jenner Tomaska will take over.
As Eater Chicago notes, Beran is a Food & Wine best new chef winner, and has a long history of making incredible, inventive food. He’s currently scouting two possible locations in Downtown, but apparently hasn’t locked into anything just yet. As for the food he’ll be serving? That remains to be seen as well, though expect it to be something closer to, say, Timothy Hollingsworth’s Otium than his more casual Barrel & Ashes.
Reached for comment, Nick Kokonas told Eater:
Over the 12 years The Alinea Group has been operating we've had many employees move on to other positions of responsibility at major restaurants around the world. Ambitious chefs often want to build their own restaurants. A few leave us to do just that.It is a bittersweet moment for us to announce that chef Dave Beran will be moving to California to pursue his dream of opening a restaurant in Los Angeles. Chef Beran has been an integral part of our team at both Alinea and Next and his leadership and spirit of culinary innovation and discovery has helped Next achieve such great success. While we are sad to see him move on, we understand that it's a logical next step for him personally and we wish him every success in California.With any such departure comes the rewarding task of promoting a worthy chef to the coveted position of Executive Chef of Next. Jenner Tomaska has worked side by side with chef Achatz, chef Beran and our team to develop culinary concepts and dishes at Next over the past several years. He has also run the kitchen many, many nights. Our South American menu, coming up in May, represents chef Jenner's first as lead creative with chef Achatz.We congratulate both chefs as we celebrate the work of chef Beran and toast the future of Next under Jenner's leadership.