RB Inn's sign flashes "No (chef) Vacancy"

Rancho Bernardo Inn names chef for its upcoming restaurant

Last year, Rancho Bernardo Inn (17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, Rancho Bernardo) closed its ancient fine dining restaurant, El Bizcocho, in order to refresh the spacious dining room and unveil it later this year as a completely new concept. That’s old news. What isn’t, is RBI’s recent announcement of the chef de cuisine that will take over the venue when it’s born again as a gourmet restaurant called AVANT.

That toque is James Kozak. Kozak graduated from Portland, Oregon’s Western Culinary Institute and was molded by vocational experiences at Napa’s Angele, Charlie Trotter's and Zealous in Chicago, Larkspur and Juniper in Colorado, and Alaska’s Talon Lodge. It’s a long list, but a solid one. Kozak will be AVANT’s chef de cuisine while Nicolas Bour will remain in his executive chef role.

He has vested interests in both modernist and farm-to-table cuisine. San Diego has the latter in spades, making it admirable and all, but hardly remarkable. What isn’t in excess throughout our county’s dining scene is a fresh, forward-thinking approach to culinary preparations. That’s not to say we need more gels, foams, anti-griddles, and liquid nitrogen; just a little something different.The restaurants best equipped, financially, to wade in those waters are those owned and operated by hotels. With any luck, Kozak will make good use of their resources and make AVANT notable when it opens this spring.

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