Chefs Adam Sobel and David Varley go way back. They met as classmates, honing their cooking skills at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, in 2000. In the 14 years since, their paths have crossed many times. They've been co-workers at several restaurants, beginning with Bradley Ogden's Parcel 104 in Santa Clara, CA, shortly after graduation. And they've been roommates on several occasions, too, most recently in San Francisco. "We ended up renting this sick apartment together," says Varley. "And I’m, like, 'Dude, we should totally just charge people to come over for dinner.'"

Sobel says the pair are "like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger – we get into a lot of trouble together." Which one is Richards and which one is Jagger? Well, that's a little hard to tell. These guys are a lot alike.

When Varley was promoted to corporate chef overseeing restaurateur Michael Mina's empire in 2011, he needed someone to fill his previous position as executive chef at Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C.'s Four Seasons Hotel – "somebody huge…somebody who’s just a rock star," he says. Naturally, he chose his old buddy, Sobel. Later, he says the hotel's director of human resources called him up and remarked: "You replaced yourself with yourself."

Both men have proudly carried the title of "King of Porc," after winning the national Cochon 555 cooking competition. Varley won in 2010; Sobel won in 2013.

Occasionally, their alikeness can cause friction: "In the kitchen sometimes, we bust each other’s balls, and there can be a little tension here and there because we’re both pretty Alpha male," says Sobel, who nonetheless describes their competitiveness as "healthy."

Presently, both guys hold the same title of executive chef at a restaurant with the same name, RN74. Albeit in two different locations: Sobel at RN74 in San Francisco, Varley at RN74 in Seattle. And, with two separate menus, each showcasing the two chef's individual cooking styles.

To better differentiate the duo, Food Republic asked both chefs to critique each other's menu, selecting three dishes that speak to the other guy's distinctive MO. Herewith, Varley on Sobel, and Sobel on Varley:

RN74, San Francisco
“Coq Au Vin” Drumstick, Parisian Ham, Porcini, Truffle Butter Macaroni
"It’s elegant but yet it’s very homey," says Varley, who points to his colleague's time working for Daniel Boulud in New York as a possible influence. "I mean, it’s chicken and macaroni and cheese, if you boil it down to its essence. But, I haven’t eaten a chicken, macaroni and cheese with porcinis and truffle butter. That’s totally a Sobel move."

Slow-Cooked Alaskan Halibut, Crayfish, Glazed Asparagus, Champagne Sabayon
"Crayfish is a classic item with fish," notes Varley, "but he’s taking it to a different realm with the Champagne sabayon. Knowing him, he’s whisking it to order. He’s got some poor kid in the corner sweating his ass off, whisking the stuff to order. That’s just the way he does it. But, it’s the right way. I’m sure it’s awesome."

Fava Bean & Mascarpone Agnolotti, Porcini Mushrooms, Shaved Pecorino, Fava Shoot
"He loves mascarpone," Varley says of Sobel. "One of our great debates is, do you put mascarpone in risotto or not? I think it’s a crutch. So, I always give him a hard time about putting mascarpone in risotto. I was never trained to do that. But then again, I was trained by French people on how to make risotto, which is ironic in of itself. Any time I see the word ‘mascarpone,’ I think of Sobel."

RN74, Seattle
Roasted Duck Magret, Poached Rhubarb, Hazelnuts, Farro, Tokyo Turnips
"David’s a big duck guy," says Sobel. "For as long as I’ve known him, he’s always put together really delicious duck. I know he's sourcing this incredible duck locally, and he’s dry-aging them a bit in his walk-in….That says D.W. Varley without a doubt."

Steak Frites Au Poivre
"His au poivre sauce is something that I've adopted," says Sobel, who notes that Varley adds some blue cheese to finish it. "This gives it some depth, some funk and some texture."

Marrow Bone "Bourguignon," Escargot, Bacon Marmalade, Horseradish
"Those could be David's favorite ingredients, I mean, all four: bone marrow, bacon, escargot and horseradish," says Sobel, who envisions his chef friend "brushing his teeth with bacon marmalade, smearing bone marrow as moisturizer, horseradish – I don’t know what he’d do with that. The escargot, he would eat and use the rest for fishing bait."

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