Rising Stars: Bourbon Steak’s David Varley

Washington's restaurant scene is full of promising young chefs. Here are 13 rising culinary stars that we think are worth your attention

Who: David Varley, executive chef at Bourbon Steak

Age: 29.

Why we chose him: Lots of celebrity-chef restaurants lose their shine once the boss flies to another outpost, but Varley has kept this kitchen strong, turning out his own citrus-steamed halibut and pork bánh mìalongside San Francisco–based chef Michael Mina’s classics.

Hometown: Stillwater, New Jersey.

Also worked at: Lespinasse in New York City; Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas.

Comfort food: “Any pie my mom makes.”

Guilty pleasures: “Pork rinds, Pixy Stix, and hot dogs.”

Favorite cheap eat: “I’m a secret ambassador for El Pollo Rico in Wheaton and Arlington.”

Always in his fridge: “White Burgundy, mustard (I have something like 18 kinds), and hot sauce, which I collect.”

Favorite burger: “The lamb burger at Citronelle’s lounge is the most delicious thing on earth.”

Memorable meal: “Cooking for Jean-Louis Palladin at Clio in Boston. It was known that he had cancer, and this was almost like a last supper for him. Ken Oringer, the chef, got a two-pound black truffle—it was the size of a dinner plate.” 


Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter

Follow the Best Bites Bloggers on Twitter at

More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.