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Rancho Bernardo Out

Avant's big hire--Charlie Trotter alum James Kozak--is gone


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Kozak's Sonoma duck breast at Avant.

Luis Garcia

The overhaul of Rancho Bernardo Inn's signature restaurant—from the hallowed and decaying El Bizcocho to the lively Avant—was one of San Diego's biggest success stories in 2013. When you decide to euthanize an iconic spot and recast it as a lively young thing, the pressure is on to make a splashy hire for the reopening. And Avant did, pulling in young chef de cuisine James Kozak from Chicago, a vet of Charlie Trotter's To-Go enterprise. Now, just months after the grand opening, he's gone. Executive Chef Nicolas Bour says it was a family decision for Kozak, and no reflection of his talent or the success of Avant. Bour's currently interviewing for a new chef de cuisine.

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