As Next restaurant evolves under a new talent that's making waves, Chicago is also losing one of its most decorated chefs. Dave Beran, a Food & Wine best new chef that's helmed the kitchen at the Alinea Group's concept-changing restaurant since its opening on Fulton Market, is heading to Los Angeles in hopes of opening a restaurant there, Nick Kokonas writes. Jenner Tomaska, who's a James Beard Award finalist this year, is being promoted to executive chef.
Tomaska's first iteration as "lead creative" at Next will be the South American menu in May. There's no word yet on Beran's possible restaurant in California, although the Tribune is reporting that he is in lease negotiations "for at least two downtown properties." Read Kokonas' full statement below; Beran's last day at Next is Sunday.
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.