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More on the Transformation from Diego to Provision No. 14 (opening late April) Meet the Chefs

14th and V Street, NW

From a press release:

Provision No. 14, slated to open on 14th & V in late April 2015 announces the appointment of a phenomenal culinary team, led by Executive Chef James Duke and Chef de Cuisine John Leavitt.

Chef James Duke, Executive Chef at Provision No. 14

Who he is: Chef James Duke defines his culinary career not only by the food he cooks, but by how he helps others’ develop themselves as cooks. Since his first cooking job slinging pizzas in high school, James has become intimately involved in the restaurant business, from cooking and serving to kitchen management and operations. James was born and raised in Northern Virginia and has lived and worked in the DC area his whole life. In addition to cooking in some of DC’s top restaurant, including 1789 and Tallula, James spent several years working in restaurant operations for Great American Restaurants, where he learned a lot about cooking consistently at large volumes and proper systems management. In October 2014, James and John opened Driftwood Kitchen on H Street NE and oversaw the kitchen there until joining the Provision No. 14 team. James lives in Shirlington with his girlfriend of two years and their dog Sophie. During his free time, he enjoys cooking meals at home and watching Netflix.

Where he’s been: 1789, DC; Tallula and EatBar, Arlington; Great American Restaurants (Carlyle, Mike’s American Grill, Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food, Virginia; Driftwood Kitchen, DC

Why he loves cooking: “I love to create interesting and surprising interpretations of familiar food and flavors by using different techniques and making everything from scratch.”

A few of his favorite things: Kombucha, a well-made Thai chicken & basil, family vacations at Rehoboth Beach every summer

Chef John Leavitt, Chef de Cuisine at Provision No. 14

Who he is: For Chef John Leavitt, cooking is an escape to the place where he finds the most solace. At 14-years-old, John got his first job as a dishwasher at a local restaurant in California and immediately fell in love with the brash environment of the kitchen. John is “from all over,” having grown up with a career Marine dad, and has worked in restaurants nationwide, including stints in Chicago, Cleveland, Seattle and now DC. John briefly studied chemical engineering in college before dropping out to pursue cooking as a career. He eventually made his way to the District, where he attended L’Academie de Cuisine and cooked at 2941. From there, John continued cooking for a while before exploring other roles in the industry, including front-of-house work at Carlyle and doing purchasing for Farmer’s Restaurant Group. John made his way back into the kitchen when he helped open Driftwood Kitchen with James in October 2014. James lives in DC’s Bloomingdale neighborhood and spends his free time with his girlfriend and his family. He says he would love to take long walks on the beach, if he had the time.

Where he’s been: Fork, Seattle; Great American Restaurants (Carlyle), Arlington; Art of Lounge, DC; Farmer’s Restaurant Group, DC; Driftwood Kitchen, DC

Why he loves cooking: “I like the transformation process of taking something raw and turning it into something composed and delicious.”

A few of his favorite things: Pho, family, cooking barbecue at his parents’ house

What’s James & John are cooking at Provision No. 14: “We have a lot of emotional attachment to our dishes and view everything we make as a reflections of ourselves,” they say. All elements of their dishes will be made from scratch in the kitchen. The menu will largely comprise dishes that are meant to be shared, including an extensive house-made pasta selection and a whole fish dish. Menus will be changing fluidly, once or twice a month, reflecting the new seasonal bounty.

A taste of what’s on the menu:

Pork Pata – A Filipino dish made from a whole pork leg that is braised, then hung to dry for a day, and then deep-fried. The result: an umami-laden piece of meat that is moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Melon + Ham – Sweet summer melon and Iberico ham are vacuum-compressed to form a salty-sweet combination. Served with bright micro-greens.

Provision No. 14 is the first restaurant for the newly formed social restaurant group. Newly founded in 2014, the Social Restaurant Group melds the energy, experience and youth of a group of successful DC entrepreneurs whose goal is to create memorable, communal experiences through food. Social Restaurant Group was built around cultivating fun, shared experiences through fresh, dynamic dining ventures. Social Restaurant Group’s principles Naeem Mohd, Mike Bramson and Alex Lopez combine their individual strengths and talents to create interesting and diverse social dining experiences in DC.”

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