Rising Star Chef David Kocab of Trentina - Biography

Cleveland, OH

November 2016

David Kocab is a born and raised Clevelander, who took a West coast culinary detour before coming back home. After dropping out of college, he found himself washing dishes and wishing he were on the line. Taking action, Kocab moved across the country to Portland, Oregon, where he studied at Western Culinary Institute and earned a degree in culinary management. 

Walking out of school and into the bustling Portland food scene wasn’t lost on Kocab. He took a job working at Nostrana, learning as much as possible under mentor Kathy Whims and Chef de Cuisine Brian Murphy. During his time in Portland, Kocab also cemented a friendship with culinary school comrade and Rising Stars alum Chef Alvin Cailan. 

When Cailan needed help opening now-kind-of-a-big-deal Eggslut in Los Angeles, Kocab moved south to help him launch the early food truck iteration. Thousands of coddled, scrambled, and fried eggs later, Kocab decided food truck life wasn’t for him. He packed his bags, presumably bought a new winter coat, and moved back home to Cleveland.
Next thing he knew, Kocab was working for James Beard Award-winner Chef Jonathan Sawyer at Trentina, one of city’s most exciting kitchens. Kocab has flourished in the restaurant as its chef de cuisine, cooking confident tasting menus that weave together Alpine Italian influences and his Ohio backyard—the latter of which he had to escape to truly understand. For his work as CDC at Trentina, Kocab was awarded a 2016 StarChefs Rising Star Award.