David Varley developed a passion for the culinary arts at a young age watching his mother tend to her organic garden which served his family and the local restaurants of Sussex, NJ. “I also grew up hunting and fishing, which helped me understand the cycle of food and production,” explained Varley.
As a teenager, Varley realized that a life in food was the only thing he wanted to pursue so he enrolled in New York’s Culinary Institute of America to obtain his culinary degree. Since 2001, he has cooked all over the U.S. developing his skills in various top-tier restaurants including Clio in Boston, MA, The Ryland Inn in White House, NJ, and Parcel 104 in Santa Clara, CA.
In 2005, Varley ventured to Las Vegas to work as chef de cuisine for Bradley Ogden within Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino. Under the tutelage of Ogden, Varley evolved as an accolade-winning chef garnering back-to-back Mobil Four-Star reviews, Five-Diamond awards and in 2007, Ogden’s first Michelin star. During his Las Vegas residency, Varley was also named “Chef to Watch, Up & Coming Rising Star,” by Vegas magazine.
Over the years Varley has differentiated himself among his peers by using innovative techniques and a modern approach to make food fun, exciting and delicious. His initial partnership with award-winning chef Michael Mina began in 2008 when he was appointed as executive chef of Washington D.C.’s BOURBON STEAK and shortly after, executive chef of Seattle’s RN74. Varley is currently the corporate chef of MINA Group and is responsible for working with over 30 of Mina’s restaurants driving seasonality, identifying the best products and practices and mentoring the next generation of culinarians.
“David is an extremely talented chef that has a very good reputation within our culinary community. His dedication to working with local purveyors and finding quality, seasonal product is one of his many attributes,” said Mina.
His ongoing collaboration with Mina led him to Honolulu in the creation of Maui Onion Burger at The Street, A Michael Mina Social House. At Maui Onion Burger, Varley reinvents the most classic American meal – the hamburger – taking culinary street-cred to a whole new level featuring hand-packed patties full of his special ingredient: an extra layer of Aloha Spirit. Educated as an adolescent on the true meaning of eating locally and seasonally, he continues this approach when crafting menus for Mina’s restaurants across the country.