Dave Beran Leaving Next to Open His Own Restaurant in LA

The chef is is leaving Chicago’s vaunted Next restaurant to open his own spot in Los Angeles.

At Food & Wine we’re still high from the announcement of our awesome Best New Chefs 2016. But that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to all other news, not least when it features a past BNC. And so, it is both super exciting and bittersweet to announce that Dave Beran is leaving Chicago’s vaunted Next restaurant to open his own spot in Los Angeles.

It’s a big deal. Beran has been chef at Next—the restaurant that is transformed every four months into a new experience—since it opened five years ago. He started working with Next co-owner, the legendary chef Grant Achatz, five years before that, when he came to Achatz’s first place, Alinea, as a food runner (within 2.5 years, he’d worked his way up to chef de cuisine). Now, Beran is headed to the West Coast, where he’ll open his own place in a part of town that will be announced shortly, along with more details.

Why is the Midwest native, whose last day at Next is Sunday, April 17, moving to LA? Because he loves the energy of the city’s restaurant scene as well as weather that affords him outstanding produce and the opportunity to be outdoors 12 months a year. (Beran is an avid athlete; he got inspiration for Next’s Hunt-themed menu on runs through Chicago parks.) Of LA, he says: “The scene now is exciting: Young, passionate talent in the city and a budding new culinary community. It reminds me a lot of Chicago over the last 10 years, thinking back to the point where the city exploded with new restaurants. I see so much excitement in the culinary scene.”

Here’s what Beran will say about his new place: There will likely be both a la carte and tasting menus. The food will be very influenced by LA and its environments. But Beran is also holding on to everything he learned cooking 16 very different menus at Next, from Paris 1906 to Childhood to Modern Chinese. “Some of the menus—kaiseki, hunt, vegan, the terroir wine driven food—are stylistically most along the lines of the food I like to create. And froom now on, there will always be an aspect of storytelling in the food I cook.”

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