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Posted at 5:02 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Bourbon Steak's David Varley heading west

By Tom Sietsema

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 at the boss's Mina Group in the Bay Area, 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 in the kitchen of the tony steakhouse in the Four Seasons Hotel Georgetown.

Enter Adam Sobel and an impressive resume. The chef, also 30, hails from RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, where he previously cooked at Bradley Ogden at Caesar's Palace, which garnered the James Beard award for best new restaurant in 2004. Sobel also worked at Restaurant Guy Savoy in the same complex.

He and Varley met in 1999 while both men were attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and they 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 raised 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 chefs will have about a month together in Washington before Varley heads west in February.

By Tom Sietsema  | January 4, 2011; 5:02 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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