Why He's Amazing: He completely reimagines his restaurant every four months, creating a brand-new dining paradigm. Working with Grant Achatz, Beran exhaustively researches different themes (Paris, 1906; Kyoto; vegan; childhood), then ingeniously brings those themes to life.
Quintessential Dish: The Bocuse d'Or menu in fall, 2013, featured Michigan brook trout (including its crispy fried spine) served with coddled eggs, spheres of olive oil curd and gold leaf.
Culinary School: Self-taught.
Restaurant CV: Alinea, Tru, MK the Restaurant, Chicago; Latitudes, Howard City, MI.
Where the Idea for Next Came From: "One night Chef [Beran always refers to Achatz as 'Chef'] cooked a bistro-style duck breast. The next night, he cooked a simple Italian dish. Nick Kokonas [Alinea's co-owner] asked, 'Why can't we open a bistro, or a trattoria?' Chef said, 'The problem is, we'll get bored.' Then the thinking became, What if when we got bored, we could change it up, start something else?"
Scoring a Seat at Next: Instead of making reservations, customers log onto Next's website and buy tickets, just as one would for a flight, a concert or a play. Prices vary, based on the menu and time (tickets for off-peak hours are cheaper than those for prime time).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.