Young and Hungry

Urbana Chef John Critchley Heading to Bourbon Steak

Chef Adam Sobel is out at Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak. Urbana chef John Critchley is in.

Eater reported news of Sobel's departure yesterday. Sobel, who's been at the Georgetown restaurant for the past two years, is heading out west to be executive chef and partner at Mina's San Francisco restaurant and wine bar RN74.

Critchley moved to the D.C. area in late 2010 to become chef of Urbana, where he became known for house-made pastas, sustainable seafood, and overall hotness. His resume also includes time at top restaurants like Toro in Boston and Area 31 in Miami.

The Post first reported the news of Critchley's appointment and a press release followed shortly after. Read the whole thing below:

BOURBON STEAK WELCOMES NEW EXECUTIVE CHEF JOHN CRITCHLEY

Washington, DC (February 26, 2013) – Chef Michael Mina is pleased to announce the appointment of John Critchley as Executive Chef of BOURBON STEAK, the contemporary American restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel, Washington, DC. Chef Critchley will assume this position on March 18th, when Chef Adam Sobel departs for San Francisco to serve as the executive chef and partner at RN74, Mina Group’s urban restaurant and wine bar.

“I’m very excited for John to join the team at BOURBON STEAK. We have very similar paths in this industry. I’ve followed him and have been very intrigued with him because of our shared philosophies and background. His commitment to local sourcing, sustainable farming practices and quality ingredients is truly admirable, and embodies the values I look for in a chef,” says Mina. “His thoughtfulness and creativity will enable BOURBON STEAK to have continued success as one of the premier modern American steakhouses in Washington.”

Growing up in Coastal Massachusetts, Critchley began as a dishwasher and prep cook at the Red Lion Inn in Cohasset when he was just 14 years old. In 1997, he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and went to work as a sauté and grill chef at Ford's Colony Dining Room in Williamsburg, Virginia before trying his hand at pastry at Trellis in the same town.

Trading Williamsburg for Boston, Critchley spent several years working in some of the city’s top restaurants, including Clio Restaurant, Uni Sashimi Bar and Toro. Critchley left the helm at Toro to work as a harvester for Island Creek Oyster Co. in Duxbury, Mass., where he indulged his passion for sustainable seafood.

In 2008, Critchley joined Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants as the opening chef of Miami’s Area 31, honored by Esquire Magazine as one of the "Best New Restaurants” of 2009. In late 2010, he relocated to DC, assuming the Executive Chef position at Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Hotel Palomar, where he cultivated a following for his handmade pasta dishes. Critchley’s commitment to local sourcing and sustainability helped earn Urbana the 2012 Mayor’s Award for Sustainability, while Critchley himself took home top honors at the DC leg of the American Lamb Jam tour the same year.

Critchley looks forward to marrying his culinary style with the BOURBON STEAK concept. “I began following Chef Mina's career early on, and am excited for the opportunity to work with him," Critchley said.  "We've used similar creative outlets, such as pastry and seafood, to add depth to our cooking.  His work at AQUA in sustainable seafood had a big influence on me. I am particularly excited to be working with the BOURBON STEAK team and it's local pasture-raised and dry aged meat program.”

Already fully entrenched in the Mid-Atlantic’s local grower network, Critchley plans to tap his farmer resources, not to mention the produce from BOURBON STEAK’s own chef garden, to create vibrant presentations that spotlight pristine ingredients.

BOURBON STEAK is located in Four Seasons Hotel at 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. For reservations or more information, please call 202.944.2026 or visit the website atwww.bourbonsteakdc.com.

Photo of John Critchley by Jessica Sidman

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