just meditating with a giant #squash #research #zucca #パンプキン #yayoikusama

A photo posted by Chef Anthony Strong (@anthonystrong) on

Longtime Delfina Restaurant Group chef Anthony Strong, who's been working for chef Craig Stoll and partner Annie Stoll for over a decade now and who served as opening chef of Delfina's Roman offshoot Locanda, will be the next well groomed local chef to head out and start his own thing. Strong tells Inside Scoop, "I know it’s time," and adds, "The hardest part is leaving all these amazing people. Annie and Craig mean the absolute world to me, and this company, too."

Strong started out behind the line with Craig Stoll at Delfina in 2005, moving on to head up Pizzeria Delfina, and ultimately join in the conceptualizing and opening of Locanda, which made its debut on Valencia Street in mid-2011, just as our current tech boom was taking off. The restaurant earned some early, two-and-a-half-star praise from Michael Bauer, and the restaurant has continued to grow into itself and gain polish — with Bauer even calling it a "must-visit" in a June update, elevating it to three stars. In the five years in between, Bauer said that Strong had taken his pasta skills "to a new level."

As for what Strong might have up his sleeve in the future, he's staying mum for now — he only says that he just got back from an inspirational jaunt to Japan (see photo of him meditating in front of a giant piece of pumpkin art by Yayoi Kusama on Naoshima island), and he'll be heading to Italy in November for truffle season.

While things aren't likely to change too dramatically in Locanda's kitchen, Strong's replacement has not yet been announced, and he'll remain there through the end of September.

He will say that he plans to stay in the Bay Area, and whatever restaurant he ultimately opens, he plans "to have a lot of fun."

BLT with foie gras, uni, and Kewpie mayo anyone?

BLT "Extra Super-Plus" w/ foie gras, uni, wasabi kewpie mayo. #happybirthday @dan_the_a

A photo posted by Chef Anthony Strong (@anthonystrong) on