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Cooking School Staff

Cooking School Staff

Andrea Turner & Tony Caldaroni

Chef bio’s:

Andrea is an account manager for Tassos in the city of Chicago. She has extensive knowledge of Tassos products and Greek cuisine. Her love of cooking is matched only by her enthusiasm and knowledge of the entire Tassos collection.

Tony leads the marketing team at Tassos and is self-described ‘food nut’ with extensive knowledge in Tassos products and Mediterranean cuisine.

Both Andrea and Tony serve as committee members for the Auxiliary board of Chicago’s Grand Chef’s Gala and work regularly with celebrity, gourmet chefs across the Chicago land area and throughout the U.S.

Restaurant bio:

Beginning with its family’s Estate bottled Olive Oil in 1996, Tassos® has grown its extensive, handcrafted gourmet quality product line to more than 36 items. Tassos gourmet products include its award winning olive oils, bruschettas and spreads, stuffed and whole Greek olives, peppers and sundried tomatoes, and monofloral honey. Tassos currently brings its artisan gourmet ingredients to chefs across the country including here in Chicago where the company’s corporate headquarters is based. Tassos’ fine ingredients are a staple of award winning Chicago restaurants like Taxim, Gaetano’s, Avli and Caffe de Luca.

Angie Bezdek

Bob & Gina Hartwig

About the Restaurants and Owners:

Lovely: a bake shop opened in Wicker Park in 2007.  Our vision was a unique place for customers to stop in for their coffee, tea, & exemplary espresso drinks, along with their favorite pastry, on the way to the rest of their day; we also created an ambience to encourage people to stay awhile.  In 2009, the Lovely family decided to grow, inspired by our love of pairing brunch with baking, opening Bakin’ & Eggs, a Lovely idea in Lakeview.  Bakin' & Eggs features a sophisticated variety of breakfast, lunch and brunch options complemented by many of Lovely's signature pastries.  Thanks to a growing demand for our pastries, Lovely expanded again in 2012 opening another retail shop and wholesale production kitchen in Edgewater.

The Lovely bake shops and Bakin' & Eggs are owned and operated by Bob and Gina Hartwig.  From recipe development to full service weddings, Bob & Gina have their hands in every aspect of the businesses.  However, the Lovely bake shops and Bakin' & Eggs would be nothing were it not for the family of employees who make them as lovely as they are.   The purposeful and respectful attention they pay to each other, the businesses, and the customers is easily our greatest asset.

Chef Aaron Lirette

Duchamp, a new venture from Lumen and Bangers & Lace principals Jason Freiman, and Nick Podesta transforms the old Meritage Bucktown location, into a contemporary eatery with star chef Aaron Lirette at the helm. With generous wit, intelligence and a distinct sense of surprise Duchamp redefines the dining experience with its playfully progressive approach. The restaurant derives its character from the 20th century’s most provocative artistic spirit Marcel Duchamp. Ingenuity is apparent on the plate as well as in the interior details, with a rustic modern touch that integrates the past and present. Duchamp is classic yet unexpected, while offering an intimate and imaginative culinary excursion for its guests. Duchamp is located at 2118 N. Damen Avenue.

Chef Amanda Snouffer

Chef Bio:

Amanda studied Culinary Arts at the Johnson County Community College and Fine Arts at the University of Kansas. In 1999, she competed with the J.C.C.C. Culinary team at the Junior Olympic Tryouts where they were awarded a Silver Medal. Amanda spent the years prior to joining the academy in southern California at the Ritz CarltonLaguna Niguel and Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel and Spa. 
Amanda joined the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, Chicago in November of 2008. 

Company bio:

Callebaut is the world’s leading supplier of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products and represents comprehensive competency in the art of making chocolate – from the bean to the finest finished product. 

In 1996 the Belgian chocolate producer Callebaut and the French chocolate company Cacao Barry joined forces, creating a new company called Barry Callebaut. Both Cacao Barry and Callebaut were widely recognized in the food industry as reliable suppliers of high-quality products and as dependable business partners for thousands of whole­sale and retail specialists in the chocolate industry. The merger combined Cacao Barry’s know-how in procurement and initial processing of cocoa beans with Calle­baut’s extensive experience in producing and marketing chocolate products. 

After 1996, the company continued to grow through geographic expansion into strategic growth markets, outsourcing contracts, innovation and acquisitions. Since 1998 Barry Callebaut has been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products.  We are the global leader in cocoa and chocolate innovations and provide a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing. Our company is actively engaged in initiatives and projects that contribute to a more sustainable cocoa supply chain.

Chef Amrita Sondhi

About the Cookbook:

Ayurveda, the five thousand-year-old healing tradition from India linked closely to yoga, is based on the concept that one's holistic well-being comes from a number of sources, including a healthful diet based on one's individual constitution. In The Tastes of Ayurveda, Sondhi provides new, easy-to-follow twists on traditional Ayurvedic recipes. The book also includes yoga poses, breath exercises and gardening tips.

About the Chef:

AMRITA SONDHI is an Ayurvedic chef and cooking teacher. She co-hosted the television program The Ayurvedic Way, based on the recipes from her first book, The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook (now in its fourth printing). Amrita is also owner of Movement Global (movementglobal.com), a cutting-edge clothing line specializing in sustainable fibers. She lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Visit her website: www.amritasondhi.com

Chef Andre Christopher

About the restaurant:

Bistro Dre is a Chef Driven BYO Neighborhood Bistro in Lakeview Chicago serving Contemporary American Bistro Cuisine for dinner and brunch.

Bistro Dre's dinner menu is based on Shared Plate Dining with most dishes served family style.


About the Chef:

Chef Andre Christopher is a culinary graduate of Kendall College (class of 1994). Throughout his career he worked and staged at restaurants Cafe Spiaggia, Costa d' Oro, Ambria, Red Light, Green Dolphin Street, Madam B, 160 Blue, Charlie Trotters, Alinea, Mercer Kitchen (NYC), Craft (NYC), Union Pacific (NYC) and Blue Hill at Stone Barns (NYC). From 2003 to 2005 he was the Chef de Cuisine at Japonais (Chicago) and from 2006 to 2008 he was the Executive Chef at Pops for Champagne (downtown). In 2009 he opened The Grocery Bistro. In 2012 he opened Bistro Dre.

Chef Armando Vasquez

About the Restaurant:

La Scarola, is a classic Italian restaurant in Chicago. The rustic restaurant is entertaining, intimate and cozy with an open kitchen serving delicious, authentic Italian meals.

Chef Brian Huston

The Publican:

From the team behind Blackbird, avec and Big Star comes this homage to beer, pork and fish. Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Brian Huston have developed a network of purveyors to supply the restaurant with hand-selected, sustainably harvested fish and seafood as well as sustainably–raised heirloom pork to anchor a rustic menu of simple, eclectic fare. And for its environmentally friendly practices, the restaurant was certified with the Green Seal from the Green Restaurant Association in June 2010.

Featuring pork and fish/seafood preparations, the menu is best described by Kahan and Huston as "pristine product, simply prepared," an approach to food Kahan has long espoused in all of his kitchens. The Publican boasts the simplest cuisine of all of the group's restaurants, with each dish stripped of adornment and containing only essential ingredients. The menu is presented in sections: Fish, Meat and Vegetables, each laid out from lightest to heaviest fare.

Pristinely fresh oysters, hand-selected for the restaurant from purveyors with whom the culinary team has formed partnerships over the past year, anchor the fish portion of the menu. From classic Belgian-style mussels to seafood stew to wood-roasted whole fish, the seafood is simple and straightforward yet eclectic in presentation.

Meat dishes center upon pork, all certified organic and sourced from Dyersville, Iowa. Anchored by a wide selection of housemade terrines and charcuteries, the menu changes daily to reflect the seasonal availability of products. Other hearty dishes, again, presented simply and stripped of adornment, include such seasonal items as black and white sausage, steak tartare, pork shoulder and pot-au-feu. Signature dishes include the wood-roasted chicken with what Kahan says are the best frites in town. 

A selection of vegetables rounds out the menu, including such seasonal items as daily aïoli, roasted broccoli, pine nuts and Italian buratta and cauliflower sformato with Marcona almond romesco.

Then there's the extensive international beer list, developed by partners Eduard Seitan and Terry Alexander with Beer Director and certified cicerone Mike McAvena. It features 100 or so ales, lagers, stouts and ciders by the bottle, 12 of those available on tap.  "We have beers from the places you expect, such as American craft brews and beers from Belgium and England," Seitan says. "But there are also beers from Southeast Asia, China, South America, wherever. If it is great, we carry it."

While the eclectic menu is inspired by simple farmhouse fare, the space is evocative of a European beer hall. Designed by James Beard Award-winner Thomas Schlesser, The Publican features the same simple lines and strong design elements that made the architect's long-time partnership with Design Project Manager/Partner Donnie Madia so successful. Strong architectural lines dominate the space, which is large, airy and awash in earthy colors.

Guests enter The Publican through a brick- and glass-enclosed vestibule that opens up into a spacious room dressed in solid walnut, with unfinished rustic wood columns lining the center, and painted embossed wallpaper on the walls and ceiling reminiscent of vintage saloon tin ceilings. The upper half of the walls are a butter color, the lower portion a cafe au lait hue with a brass railing separating the warm, inviting shades.

Modeled after the long tables in old-time grand banquet halls, a large 90-seat communal "racetrack" table dominates the middle of the restaurant, encircling European cafe-style round three-tier tables where guests can stand while enjoying a snack or waiting to be seated. Against one wall are eight waist-high wrap-around booth alcoves made of walnut with eco-friendly camel naugahyde seating; to enter the alcove, you'll have to pass through swinging doors, which lend a cozy, secluded vibe. Ladderback walnut chairs with camel naugahyde padding were custom-designed for the space, as were the 84 vintage-inspired opaque white globes hanging from brass stems that run the length of the large restaurant's ceiling.

The all-perforated brass bar showcases over-scale beer taps. The backdrop to the bar is a dramatic wall of illuminated vintage beer steins displayed on minimalist glass shelves. Other continental beer antiques – including a barrel pump, a brewer's mash–making tool, a wooden mold for hand–blowing beer glasses and a variety of beer mugs – are artfully displayed in brass–trimmed nooks throughout the restaurant. A partially open also kitchen stands out with white penny tiling and offers a view of the culinary action.

The Publican
837 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
312-733-9555
www.thepublicanrestaurant.com

 

The Publican's Chef de Cuisine Brian Huston:

Brian Huston's unassuming style is perfectly suited to The Publican, a restaurant whose philosophy is to execute simple farmhouse fare from pristine product. The Evanston, Illinois, native boasts a solid career of building on classical culinary training, including stages at some of the country's finest restaurants.

Huston comes to The Publican from a seven-year stint in Boulder, Colorado, where he worked at both The Full Moon Grill and The Kitchen. Prior to that, he worked under Executive Chef Paul Kahan at Blackbird from 1998 to 2000. Huston's resume also includes Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, Enterprise Bar and Grill in Colorado, and both Spiaggia and Heaven on Seven in Chicago. Huston has also staged at Acquerello, Slanted Door, Chez Panisse, Emeril's and Charlie Trotter's.

Huston attended the Culinary School of Kendall College and holds a Bachelor of Science from Ohio University.

Chef Carlos Gaytan

About the Chef and Restaurant:

Chef Carlos Gaytan’s culinary journey has been one of hard work, persistence and dedication.  Having arrived in Chicago in early 1991, he began a career at Sheraton North Shore Hotel, quickly working his way up to pantry cook, line cook and banquet cook during his first year of employment. He earned a position as a Chef Garde Manger and discovered he possessed a highly artistic and creative ability to carve on ice, fruit and vegetables. He participated in many food and ice carving competitions- winning several awards.  Having perfected his skills in handling both hot and cold foods for over six years, he began his employment as Chef Garde Manger at the Union League Club of Chicago in 1996. For over seven years he worked under the guidance of Chef Michael Garbin.  He honed his ability to cook a wide variety of foods and ultimately became the Banquet Sous Chef. The Union League Club has ranked as the best private club in the nation and it became the place where Chef Carlos Gaytan gained the additional knowledge he needed to lead a successful career.

In April of 2004 he was offered the position of Chef de Cuisine at Bistrot Margot where he worked tirelessly and passionately at creating the art of food.  Over the years, he has worked with renowned French Chef Dominique Tougne and has participated in such events as the Confrerie de la Chaide de Rotisseurs, the Moet and Chandon Brunch and the Annual Flora Springs Dinner Auction in Napa Valley.  

Today Chef Carlos Gaytan is thankful, as he was able to see his dream become a reality in May of 2008 by opening his own restaurant Mexique on Chicago Avenue in Chicago.  With great creativity, love and dedication he applies his knowledge of French cooking techniques and ingredients to his roots of traditional Mexican cuisine creating a revolution of Mexican gastronomy.  Mexique has received much recognition since its opening. Within the first three months CS Magazine recognized Mexique as one the best restaurants in Chicago and it was named by Chicago Magazine as one of the top new restaurants of 2009. In 2009 Mexique was named one of the best restaurants of 2010 by Chicago Magazine. Most recently Carlos was awarded “Chef of the Year 2011,” by the American Culinary Federation and Mexique was awarded the “Michelin Bib Gourmand Award 2012” for the second year in a row. The biggest accomplishment of all was when Mexique got its first star in the Michelin Guide earlier this year. 

Chef Chris Nicki

About New England Seafood Company:


New England Seafood Company, Inc. is a family owned and operated wholesale/retail seafood business and seafood restaurant with 40+ years of experience and direct access to the Boston waterfront.

Maybe it’s the salt water tank that holds our live lobsters, the clean ocean smell, the knowledgeable sales staff, display case filled with fresh fish, that keep people coming back for more, week after week.

New England Seafood Company, Inc. offers only the freshest quality seafood and highest quality service to their customers.  Once you experience the New England seafood tradition, you'll see why customers keep coming back for more. 

 

About the chef:

Christopher Nicki
What does living in Houston, Paris (that’s France, not Paris, Texas) London and Chicago do for you?  Well, if you are interested in food, it certainly broadens your palette.  The local and ethnic cuisines available in those cities: Asian, North African, Indian, French classical, Tex-Mex and more, have inspired Chris.  Chris learned to cook in the kitchen, not the classroom.  The hours spent there, often long hours, have been a pleasure.  He is always looking for the next taste thrill.

When CB Ohl, a longtime friend, asked Chris to help him open the kitchen at New England Seafood Company, Chris jumped at the opportunity.  And, by the way, if the menu becomes just a bit too adventurous for you, no worries, Chris is a trained paramedic.

Chef Chris Reed

ABOUT THE COMPANY:

The Rice Table was established in the spring of 2008, however it’s recipes and true beginnings traverse both time and distance. Originating in the western region of Java many centuries ago these family recipes were cultivated and passed down generation to generation. Then, in the early 1950’s with the relocation of many Dutch-Indonesians to the Netherlands these culinary gems found a new home. Although thousands of miles away, these recipes received the same love and attention accustomed in it’s home of Indonesia.

It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that the family traditions made their way across the Atlantic with Priscilla-Jane Reed. After spending years enduring the absence of a true Indonesian food establishment, Jane and Chris Reed felt it time to take the family recipes to the public. So in spring of 2008 The Rice Table catering company was formed. Chicago’s true outlet for authentic Indonesian fare, The Rice Table strives to showcase the cuisines distinctive flavors and cooking styles. Through its’ use of fresh, local ingredients and exotic spices we aim to place Indonesian cuisine among its’ rightful spot as one of the finest in the world.

ABOUT THE CHEF:

Chris Reed has a decades worth of experience in the restaurant industry, and has been Owner and Executive chef of The Rice Table Indonesian Catering. He graduated from Kendall College in Spring of 2004 and began working in fine dining bistros across the North Shore such as The Harbor House and Jilly’s Cafe. From there Chris went on to work at Table 52 under Chef Art Smith. In 2008, after noticing the lack of Indonesian cuisine in the Chicago food landscape, Chris and his mother Priscilla-Jane Reed decided to start their own catering service specializing in just that. Chris was born and raised in Evanston, IL and currently resides in the city of Chicago.

Chef Chris Tong

About the Chef:

Executive Chef
German-born and trained, Chef Christopher Tong has been creating distinctive Continental and French cuisine
in the United States for more than 25 years.
After he was recruited to join the culinary staff of a famous restaurant in Chicago, Ciel Blue
he continued his career at prestigious establishments around the country including
the Disney Swan Hotel in Orlando, the world famous Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles,
and the Sutton Place and Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
Early on, he became a favorite of celebrities in the world of entertainment and sports. Some of the first to
recognize his skills were: Michael J. Fox, Michael Jordan, Nancy Reagan, Cher, and the Prince of Jordan.
He also served teams in the NBA, NFL, and NHL, as well as NASCAR drivers.
Six years ago, he launched My Private Chef, taking that same exquisite cuisine into the world of private dining.
He has received rave reviews and recognition for offering world-class fare at a host of intimate dinners
and special events.
His My Private Chef date book is filled with events that spark interest and excitement:
A five-course dinner where the guest list included the French Ambassador.
He loved the grilled pheasant with wild strawberries and pistachios.
Dinner service and parties for Stephen Hamilton. Hamilton is an internationally famous food photographer and
judge on Top Chef Masters. One of the parties was for the launch of his new online magazine Who’s Hungry?
Beautiful and delicious hors d’oeuvres for the Yves St. Laurent French Fashion House Chicago Trunk Show.
The relaunch in 2011 of Every Day with Rachael Ray. My Private Chef prepared a special Hawaiian-themed
party and coordinated the Chicago events for the nationwide tour.
Special art industry parties for the internationally known celebrity, commercial and portrait photographer,
Sandro Miller.
Chef Tong’s cooking demonstrations are a favorite.
He regularly appears at Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store, Whole Foods Market, Gilda’s Club Chicago,
Chicago Botanic Garden, the popular Green City Market, and Dominick’s Cooking Corner at the Taste of Chicago.
Christopher Tong was named one of the top 100 Chefs in Chicago
and received the 2000 Gold Medal Award by the American Tasting Institute.
He has served as a judge at the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago and is a member of the James Beard Foundation.
He teaches his skills to students at the Culinary Internship Program at St. Augustine College.

Christopher Tong

 Executive Chef

German-born and trained, Chef Christopher Tong has been creating distinctive Continental and French cuisine in the United States for more than 25 years. After he was recruited to join the culinary staff of a famous restaurant in Chicago, Ciel Blue he continued his career at prestigious establishments around the country including the Disney Swan Hotel in Orlando, the world famous Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, and the Sutton Place and Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

Early on, he became a favorite of celebrities in the world of entertainment and sports. Some of the first to recognize his skills were: Michael J. Fox, Michael Jordan, Nancy Reagan, Cher, and the Prince of Jordan. He also served teams in the NBA, NFL, and NHL, as well as NASCAR drivers. Six years ago, he launched My Private Chef, taking that same exquisite cuisine into the world of private dining. He has received rave reviews and recognition for offering world-class fare at a host of intimate dinners and special events.

His My Private Chef date book is filled with events that spark interest and excitement: A five-course dinner where the guest list included the French Ambassador. He loved the grilled pheasant with wild strawberries and pistachios. Dinner service and parties for Stephen Hamilton. Hamilton is an internationally famous food photographer and judge on Top Chef Masters. One of the parties was for the launch of his new online magazine Who’s Hungry? Beautiful and delicious hors d’oeuvres for the Yves St. Laurent French Fashion House Chicago Trunk Show.  The relaunch in 2011 of Every Day with Rachael Ray.

My Private Chef prepared a special Hawaiian-themed party and coordinated the Chicago events for the nationwide tour. Special art industry parties for the internationally known celebrity, commercial and portrait photographer, Sandro Miller. Chef Tong’s cooking demonstrations are a favorite.

He regularly appears at Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store, Whole Foods Market, Gilda’s Club Chicago, Chicago Botanic Garden, the popular Green City Market, and Dominick’s Cooking Corner at the Taste of Chicago.

Christopher Tong was named one of the top 100 Chefs in Chicago and received the 2000 Gold Medal Award by the American Tasting Institute.

He has served as a judge at the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago and is a member of the James Beard Foundation.  He teaches his skills to students at the Culinary Internship Program at St. Augustine College.

Website: www.myprivatechef.net

Become a Facebook Fan:  www.facebook.com/ChefChrisTong

 

 

Chef Christopher Karl

 

About the restuarant:

Owner's Kevin Killerman (O'Donovan's, Casey Moran's) and James Geier (555 International design firm for GT Fish & Oyster , Girl & the Goat) opened the doors to Deuce's + the Diamond Club at 3505 N. Clark Street, in the heart of Chicago's Wrigleyville/Lakeview areas.  The massive space, seating 500 plus in its bar and restaurant, has two levels - Deuce's on the street level and the Diamond Club above.  D+D blends modern design with a reclaimed vintage and industrial, edgy decor, offering guests an unequaled experience for the utmost restaurant and nightlife indoor/outdoor adventure each area providing a different atmosphere.

Deuce’s is Wrigleyville’s premier gourmet burger establishment in the heart of Lakeview. It offers 14 original burger creations as well as a bevy of unique comfort food options – perfect for any foodie! Featuring crafts from local and international breweries, we’ve got a beer to quench any type of palette! 

 

The Diamond Club, which is just an escalator ride away (literally) from Deuce’s, is an extension of the Lakeview gourmet burger bar and restaurant. The Diamond Club offers a relaxed and enjoyable dining experience featuring worn leather sectionals, plush couch seating, South Beach-style sliding glass windows and an unparalleled view of the hustle and bustle of Clark Street.

About the Chef:

He moved on to become a Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine of Mrs. Parks Tavern, working with noted Chef David Burke.  From there he was chosen as Sous Chef and later promoted to Executive chef at Chicago’s French/American Toque restaurant.  He gained more experience at the Kimpton Hotel’s 312 Chicago, at Crust Eat Real (Chicago’s first certified organic restaurant). As Chef de Cuisine for the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza’s ItaliAsia (Italian and Asian fusion), and moved on to become the Chef Contractor for Terlato Wines International.  In 2011, Chris was asked to assist in the opening of Iron Chef Takashi Yagihashi’s Slurping Turtle.

 

His stint as Executive Chef for Showplace Icon Theater’s Lobby Lounge Restaurants in both Chicago and in Minnesota has given Chris Karl experience for the development of exciting new menu items for his current position as Executive Chef of Wrigleyville/Lakeview’s Deuce's + the Diamond Club.

Chef Colin Beaumier

About the Restaurant:

Reverie serves casual Cuisine American cuisine.  Our focus is to use only fresh ingredients.  We do this by sourcing natural, locally farmed and/or organic products wherever possible.

Our restaurant has everything from steaks and seafood to an incredible sushi bar on our second level. Enjoy watching sports in a comfortable setting? Red Ivy will be the place to enjoy a great Chicago sports event in a great setting.

Reverie restaurant offers a progressive list of; sake, sparkling, white and red wines, an ever-changing seasonal cocktail selection and an extensive beer list featuring local micro brews, as well as domestic and imported favorites.

About the Chef:

Cooking is in Colin Beaumier blood. The seventh of eight children, Colin spent a lot of time in the kitchen watching his parents cook long hours for such a big group. It was a binding experience that kept everyone together and was always a fun time. While attending college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and working in a busy restaurant, the seed was planted after working with a great chef-mentor from the Culinary Institute of America. Colin attended the CIA graduating in 2001 with amazing experiences, culminating in winning a spot at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival getting to work with cooking legend Jacques Pepin whose philosophy of cooking and life was a game-changer. He developed his repertoire at Coquette Cafe and Sanford restaurants under the tutelage of Chef Sandy D'Amato and his wife Angie. Next, Colin continued his experiences in several great settings across the US culminating with a great run at the famed Whitehall Hotel in Chicago. Colin returned from Wisconsin after opening Kickshaw restaurant in 2009, returning to Chicago in 2011 eventually taking the helm of the landmark Heartland Cafe and is now at the helm of Reverie in downtown Chicago. Colin aims to create a great memory for the guests of Reverie with it's approach of great Asian influenced cuisine in a comfortable and familiar setting and he is looking forward to serving you! 

Chef Cory Morris

Chef Cory Morris

About the Restaurant:

Take a culinary tour of Barcelona right on Michigan Avenue at Mercat a la Planxa, a Chicago Tapas Restaurant where Catalan-inspired cocktails and cuisine come to life.  Start with a round of sparkling Cava or a pitcher of fruity sangria before digging into Mercat's menu of traditional tapas, grilled steaks, market-fresh seafood, artisanal cheeses and cured meats.

Whatever your pleasure, Chef Jose Garces' mod-Mediterranean kitchen delivers a dose of Catalan soul straight to your table.

Mercat a la Planxa - Chicago's new Catalan destination.

About the Chef:

Chef Morris was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and showed an interest in cooking from a very young age. Growing up, his earliest culinary memories were cooking dinner for his siblings so they could avoid store bought, pre-packaged meals while his parents we busy working. Chef Morris began his culinary career in 2000 as an assistant to the chef at the fine dining restaurant Mariposa in Park City, Utah.

In 2004, Morris was appointed executive chef of Red Rock Grille, and later as chef of The Club at Spanish Peak in Big Sky, Montana, where he created seasonal menus and utilized local, organic ingredients. Morris eventually moved to Chicago, where he was named sous chef at Mercat a la Planxa when it opened in early 2008 under the direction of Executive Chef Jose Garces and Chef de Cuisine Michael Fiorello.

Now, as chef de cuisine, Morris enjoys adding a modern spin to Catalan classics. Chef Morris’s approach to food is derived from his travels through Spain, France and the United States, as well as the industry luminaries he has worked alongside, including chefs Jose Garces and Joyce Goldstein. He believes that food is meant not only for consumption but to excite the palate and create memories. In his spare time, Chef Morris enjoys cycling and exploring different cultures through Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods and their food.

Chef Dan Salls

Company blurb:

The Salsa Truck (and subsequently The Garage) was born out of necessity. Chicago, the greatest city in the world, was lacking in one major department - a vibrant food truck scene. We have created The Salsa Truck so that we can help contribute to that void by joining our other food truck brethren in the streets of Chicago and showing to everyone that we can create a sustainable business model that focuses on quality and taste, rather than the bottom line. Just as necessarily, we created The Garage to provide a home for the truck and act as a gathering place for our friends.

 

Chef Bio:

Chef/owner of The Salsa Truck and The Garage, Dan Salls, left his job as a financial adviser to pursue his culinary ambitions and open The Salsa Truck, the first licensed mobile food preparer in Chicago. Shortly thereafter he opened The Garage, located in Chicago's West Loop, which functions as a lunch counter and food truck commissary. He has become a pinnacle within the food truck community’s development and has received accolades for his culinary and business achievements, including being one of Zagat’s 30 under 30 this year.

Chef Dave Cooper

About the restaurant:

Bite Cafe is a casual modern neighborhood diner in Ukrainian Village. Opened in 1995, Bite uses local and organic ingredients to produce unique American comfort food. Bite is open for brunch and dinner 7 days a week and is BYOB with no corkage fee.

About the chef:

Dave Cooper was born in England and raised in Tennessee and Kentucky. A graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia,Wa, Cooper started his culinary career as a dishwasher while studying fiction and creative writing.  Several kitchens and many years later Cooper served as chef at HB Home Bistro, a popular BYOB in Lakeview. His British and Southern heritages currently form the foundation for his culinary palette.

Chef David Jahnke

About the restaurant:

The history on the walls here at the Italian Village reflects the day-to-day life of our family, starting in 1927 when Alfredo Capitanini opened his restaurant, a restaurant that would one day be the oldest continuously operating Italian restaurant in Chicago. He opened with a simple philosophy in mind: Make good, simple food, serve it in ample portions and offer it with warm Italian courtesy.

Through years of patience and hard work, Alfredo and his wife, Ada, built the restaurant into a landmark in the heart of the Loop. In time, their children, Ave, Frank and Ray grew into the business and each made unique contributions to continue to make The Italian Village grow and prosper, pouring their love of family and Chicago into the restaurant, our customers and the future. That future came with yet another generation of Capitaninis going to work, including Frank, Jr., Gina, Lisa and Alfredo (Al). 

Again, new generations brought new ideas to the table, and The Italian Village expanded to include our more adventurous side at Vivere, high-quality meat and seafood at La Cantina, and our classic menu, ambience and service at The Village.

Throughout our 85 years in business, we’ve been about family, value and hospitality, in that order. Alfredo and Ada knew early on that if you treat everyone that walks in the door like family, the value and the hospitality would happen automatically. They instilled this in their children, their extended family and in the hundreds and hundreds of Italian Village employees who have played crucial parts in our continued success.

 

About the Chef:

Chef David has over 25 years of Chef experience and began his career at Spiaggia as Executive Banquet Chef of their private dining rooms. He worked under renowned Chef’s Tony Mantauno and Paul Bartolotta. He also worked for Levy Restaurant Corporation and Cocco Pazzo Café all that were started in Chicago as Executive Chef and then spent the last 11 years running the kitchen at Mike Ditka’s restaurant.

His cooking philosophy consists of fresh seasonal ingredients. Summertime is great with fresh produce harvested from our rooftop garden at the restaurant including Beefsteak tomatoes, Arugula and many fresh herbs which we feature on our menus. With Autumn approaching Chef David enjoys utilizing mushrooms and slow roasting stews like Ossobuco.

Chef David is a firm believer of using the best and freshest ingredients available with an eye on responsible and sustainable harvesting.

Chef Didier Durand

About the restaurant:

Located in the heart of the River North district of downtown Chicago, Cyrano's Farm Kitchen has been the home of fresh French country fare since its opening in February of 2012. Along with his conscientious and knowledgeable staff, Chef Didier Durand brings the traditions of hearty, healthy cuisine and warm hospitality to life right here in the Second City. The rustic, reclaimed-lumber decor and subtle pastoral ambiance will transport you to a place where comfort and simplicity mean just a little bit more.

Featuring a continuously-updating seasonal menu full of old favorites, new classics, craft cocktails, and inspired desserts, Cyrano's offers something sure to tantalize every palette-- whether you're searching for that rare find, or simply coming back for more of what you love. Jamie Pellar, Chef Didier's wife, maintains and curates one of the best wine cellars in the city. Full of French favorites as well as selections from Spain, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand, our affordable by-the-glass and bottle selection puts the final flourish on a remarkable dining experience.

So come hang up your coat, slow down for an hour or two, and let us show you exactly how "good food makes people happy." That's our philosophy, after all: You bring the appetite. We'll take care of the rest. 

 

About the Chef and Restauranteur, Didier Durand

Chef Didier was born & raised in Bergerac, France, the hometown of the legendary dramatist and duelist Cyrano de Bergerac. After graduating in two years from the Lycee Hotelier de Naillac in 1979, he held several seasonal jobs all over Europe, including a two-year span at Eugenie Les Bains for acclaimed chef Michel Guerard, his mentor. He then came to Chicago in 1986, fell in love with his new country, and got happily married in 1990 to Jamie Pellar. For ten years, he worked at highly-regarded restaurants such as Carlos, La Forêt, La Bohéme, L'Escargots, Gordon, Yvette Wintergarden, and Le Perroquet. In 1996, the two opened Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar, which they then transformed into Cyrano's Farm Kitchen in 2012. They also own & operate Cyrano's Cafe on the Riverwalk, a picturesque riverside cafe between Columbus and Michigan on the south bank of the Chicago River.

Jamie Pellar, Didier Durand’s wife, is the Wine Cellar Master & Sommelier for Cyrano's Farm Kitchen as well as Cyrano's Cafe on the Riverwalk. Passionate about all wines, she travels throughout France, especially the Bergerac region, seeking out the only the finest to be featured at both restaurants. With decades of experience as a wine professional, she fills our cellar with wines for any price point that elegantly showcase and enliven the Chef's cuisine. You can find her tasting potential additions to our wine list at our bar, or enjoying our live music with a bold glass of Bordeaux at her favorite table, downstairs in the Barrel Room.

Chef Dominique Tougne

Chef Dominique Tougne

About the Restaurant:

A unique French bistro in the heart of Lincoln Park

Entering Chez Moi is not just about going to a French bistro. It's entering in Chef Dominique Tougne's world. Like the Chef, the food is authentic, the service simple and the atmosphere  convivial. Enjoy French classics such as onion soup, foie gras, steak frites and crème brulée. Relax in a neat decor. Experience a moment of happiness. Bienvenue Chez Moi, Chicago's hottest new restaurant where time stops and joie de vivre comes alive.

About the Chef:

Chef Dominique Tougne was born in Alsace, the northeast region of France. However his   heritage is the region called Dordogne in the southwest corner of the country.   From age fourteen, he trained at the culinary school in Blois outside of Paris then continued cooking with such French culinary greats as Jacques Senechal and Joel Robuchon.   Working with the French group "Les Halles" in l995, he arrived in America and opened their restaurant in Atlanta for the Olympic Games of l996.   From there he was recruited by the Levy Restaurant Organization to be chef de cuisine at Bistro 110 across from the Water Tower Building in Chicago where he remained till 2011.  In 2012 he created Chez Moi - a unique french bistro in heart of Lincoln Park.

Chef Ellie Carlson & Chef Mark Howe

About the catering company:

Welcome to Sweet Symphonie Custom Catering! Our Chicago-based catering group was founded by two diverse cooks who love to create and share delicious food. Ellie Carlson is not only an accomplished cook and baker, but is also a theatrical performer who presents menus from various historic periods in costume with period-appropriate ingredients and the tools of the time. Her partner, Mark Howe, has been creating unique dishes with emphasis in vegetarian and various ethnic cuisines for many years. Together they have built an energetic, creative approach to catering that features notes of both sweet and savory coming together in concert.

Our goal with this class is to provide the guests with easy to prepare dishes that can be made ahead to leave more time for romance on Valentines' Day. Additionally, we want to provide an interactive experience so that attendees come away with skills that will impress their loved ones.  Everything we are making is actually really easy, but doesn't appear so when finished. Ellie likes to use the expression, People will think you slaved! This is a Vegan menu but we will certainly make suggestions for additions to please the carnivores and vegetarians in our midst. We also intend to provide a small starter which will be ready on the tables when the guests arrive. This will be in the form of Ellie's southern lightbread rolls with apple butter or a mushroom duxelle . The recipe is not included because the starter is not available in the Treasure Island aisles. This is just a little lagniappe from Sweet Symphonie so folks have their mouths full right away.

About the chefs:

Ellie is multi-talented person with a wide range of interests. She is an actress who creates and performs compelling historical characters and teaches Historic Cooking classes in costume with period recipes and tools, www.elliecarlson.net. She is also a museum curator and a Mom (three humans and a German Shepherd Dog). She's been cooking since she needed a stepstool to reach the counter, learning real home-cooking from both grandmothers. Ellie is our lead on everything sweet or baked at SSCC. She likes to say that she is the Sweet Side of Sweet Symphonie. Mark says, If it has flour or sugar in it, ask Ellie.

Mark Howe has a completely different background with food as his passionate diversion. He is an entrepreneurial producer of interactive software and films, www.cameomm.com. He first taught himself to cook as a young vegetarian an embarrassing number of years ago. He developed a keen interest in many ethnic cuisines and their diverse flavors. Mark provides the Savory Side of Sweet Symphonie. Guests often ask how a dish was made during an event, especially Mark's amazing soups. He generously shares his techniques and recipes.  He is also a Dad (one human, many canines), a dog breeder (German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers), a musician and a writer. 

Chef Eric Mansavage

About the restaurant:

Farmhouse Tavern is a Midwestern Craft Tavern specializing in local food and drink. We are a farm to tavern restaurant, and we make all of our own burgers, condiments and sodas from scratch. And with more than 36 craft beers on tap, we are sure you will find something special to wash it all down. We are also the first tavern in the country to serve great Michigan wines on tap.  Despite the fact that Farmhouse is relatively new to our fair city, our goal was to bring some history into our space.  We salvaged from a furniture factory on the south side of Chicago, found our great Beerador at a mechanics shop in western Pennsylvania, tin ceiling tile from a turn of the century printing shop on the west side of Chicago.  The vast majority of the wood in Farmhouse is reclaimed barn siding and beams from three barns in the Southwestern Wisconsin towns of Monticello, South Wayne and Wiota.  The barns were built between 1850 and 1890.  The wood used at Farmhouse is all old-growth timber, impossible to replicate today.  We are very proud of the fact that more than 85% of our build-out was done with salvaged materials.  Thanks to all of our friends who helped us find these rare and wonderful items.  You made it what it is!

About the Chef:

Farmhouse Chef Eric Mansavage, a born-and-raised Wisconsin native, is taking his knowledge, technique, and passion for slow food and local-sustainable cooking back to the tavern to explore craftsmanship with a familiar, yet playful take on his experiences growing up in the Midwest. He has served as Executive Chef for Club Lucky, worked stints with Kimpton Hotel, South Water Kitchen and West Town hangout Branch 27, focusing on local seasonal cuisine. Eric graduated The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He has been Executive Chef at Farmhouse since it’s inception and has a team of talented chefs working with him day to day. He is a junior board member at the Green City Market, raising awareness and money for a very worthy cause close to his heart. He lives in Rogers Park and is a keen 80’s music fan and Cyclist.

About Brown Dog Farm:

Brown Dog Farm is a 140 acre farm located in the rolling hills of the Southwestern Wisconsin Driftless Region. Formerly McNeill Farm, it was founded in the early 1800s and was for many years a family-owned dairy farm. When TJ and Molly bought the farm in Fall 2012, however, it had been fallow for almost 30 years.  Renamed Brown Dog Farm after TJ and Molly's two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, the plan is to raise fruits, vegetables and honey for Farmhouse Tavern in an organic, sustainable manner.  We are currently growing five kinds of apples, asparagus and hazelnuts for use in the restaurants.  We are also harvesting the native morels, wild grapes and black walnuts that can be found in season.   This past spring, we planted an additional 35 heirloom apple, cherry and pear trees and started our first four beehives.  For 2014, the plans include an additional 20 heirloom apple trees, black raspberries, red raspberries, currants and gooseberries, as well as more asparagus and hazelnuts.  We are also planning to expand the apiary next year, doubling in size.

TJ and Molly are working with the Prairie Enthusiasts, a non profit focused on restoration of the native Midwestern prairie.  This past year, 22 acres of pasture was reseeded with a mix of native Wisconsin grasses and flowers. 

We hope to expand the prairie in the coming years.

Chef Felix Avila

About Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group

Located at 17 W. Adams in Chicago's Loop for more than 114 years, Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group includes a full-service catering business, the Berghoff Restaurant, the Berghoff Café and the Berghoff Café at O'Hare International Airport. Serving German cuisine with an American twist, Berghoff is known for our family traditions, annual Oktoberfest celebration and being a part of the fabric of Chicago, especially since we proudly display the city’s first ever liquor license. For more information on Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group, visit www.berghoffgroup.com. Find them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

About the Chef:


Sous Chef, Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group

Felix Avila has been with the Berghoff family for almost 1 year.  His job includes many roles: overseeing the functions of the catering department, preparing new menus, handling tastings for clients, and supervising catered events. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu with a degree in Culinary Arts, Felix began his career in the culinary industry at the Peninsula Hotel Chicago.  Felix was fortunate enough to learn all aspects of fine dining under the supervision of some of the most prestigious chefs in Chicago. Having traveled to Asia, Europe, and Latin America to experience a wide variety of cultural cuisines, Felix is passionate about creating and preparing high quality dishes, in both flavor and presentation. 

Chef Frank Brunacci

Executive Chef Frank Brunacci departed ways with the Trump International Hotel & Tower after 4 years of Tenor, The Truffle Business was really taking off and Frank needed to make a life changing decision, leave the corporate world of stability or move into small business ownership and really give it a shot. His passion made him choose the latter, after cooking in some of the world’s most distinguished kitchens. With a modern American approach at the heart of his cooking philosophy— which unifies traditional European and Asian classic cooking techniques.

Frank was a huge part of the Opening Team of Franks N Dawgs, developing Menus, hiring and training, but after 4 months Lillian and Frank had ended all ties with Franks N Dawgs to focus solely on the Truffle Importing Business, Frank wanted to make sure Alexander had all the support leading up to and 4 months after the opening, I think it is safe to say the wonderful addition to the city of Chicago’s Hot Dog establishments has been a huge hit…

The Australian native has lived, traveled and worked all over the world. The learning curve was steep as a young chef in a parade of world-class environs, but Brunacci was a natural; following an apprenticeship in Australia at age 21, he moved to London to work at Les Saveurs Restaurant.

Working 15 hours a day at Les Saveurs, Brunacci credits that time as “the best learning experience of my life.” After leaving Les Saveurs, he returned to Australia and cooked for two years before moving to the United States for the first time in 1997 after receiving an invitation to open the Ritz Carlton, Buckhead. “Cooking there afforded me the opportunity to cook with foie gras, truffles and many other rare ingredients we didn’t necessarily see in Australia at that time,” he says.

He spent three years in Buckhead before opening Victor’s, which was awarded five diamonds after only 13 months in operation at The Ritz Carlton, New Orleans. Three years later, Brunacci moved to L’Auberge de Sedona, an ultra-luxurious spa in Arizona, and then, to The Club & Spa at Fiddler’s Creek in Naples, Florida.

“My hope is always to execute to perfection and present cuisine very cleanly. With each dish, I want our guests to experience color, acidity, spice, sweetness, and an element of surprise—whether that’s a crunch, sweetness, an oil or something that bridges the gap between the ingredients. One component should naturally introduce the next to create a seamless flavor profile.”

Chef Henry Pariser

About the Restaurant:

Munster Taverns (http://munstertaverns.com/), a privately-owned Chicago hospitality company, owns and operates three properties: Wilde Bar & Restaurant at 3130 North Broadway in the Lakeview neighborhood; Beckett’s at 3210 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park and Lady Gregory’s at 5260 North Clark Street in Andersonville. Wilde opened November 2007, the first project of the operating partnership of Martin Cournane and Denis Paul Shehan. They wanted to offer a sophisticated Irish pub honoring a celebrated author, one of the first gay activists. Beckett’s followed in September of 2009, responding to a need for a sports bar at the Lincoln | Belmont | Ashland intersection. Increased TVs and gourmet burgers attract Nebraska Cornhuskers fans, affiliated because of a former coworker’s home state. Lady Gregory’s is the most recent jewel in the Munster Tavern’s crown, having opened in June of 2011 following a record six-week rebuild after a devastating fire. Executive Chef Henry Pariser sources local producers employing a harvest-to-table approach to create sophisticated gastro fare; comforting, satisfying and refined. Expert mixologist Kyle McHugh stocks from 100 to 300 different whiskeys, microbrews in bottle and on tap and a thoughtful, tightly-edited wine program.

About the Chef:

Henry Pariser graduated from Culinary School in Janesville Wisconsin, after Culinary School he wanted to further his knowledge of Farm to Table cuisine and took a job opportunity at The French Laundry in Napa Valley California. He also worked at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at Aqua Knox.

Henry then took the position of Executive Sous Chef at the Janesville Country Club, a private Club founded in 1894 the 6th oldest Country Club in the USA. There he worked a lot with the elite members planning gourmet meals catered at their homes specializing in wild game dinners, scotch dinners and wine dinners.  After working as a chef Henry wanted to expand his managerial knowledge and took a job managing Micro Breweries in Boulder Colorado, where he also used his culinary experience to help with the brewing of different beers.

In May Henry Moved back home to Chicago to assist Martin Cournane with the opening of Lady Gregory's Restaurant in Andersonville.  Henry also oversees the two other Munster Tavern Properties - Wilde Bar and Restaurant and Beckett’s Gourmet Burgers & Craft Beers.

Chef Isaac Reyes

 

About the Restaurant:
Bistrot Margot offers traditional French bistrot dining in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. We provide a warm atmosphere and diverse cuisine. Our goal is to bring diners back to the neighborhoods of turn of the century Paris, where unpretentious service and a high style atmosphere go hand in hand. Chef and Owner Joe Doppes has over 30 years of culinary experience. In 1999 he set his heart on a French restaurant in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood, and Bistrot Margot was born.

About the Chefs:
Executive Chef Alfonso Andrade
Alfonso has been working the stoves at Bistrot Margot since 2000. He learned by working side-by-side with Chef Joe Doppes. Today, he creates fresh and interesting dishes while upholding the tenets of classic French cuisine.

Sous Chef Isaac Reyes
Isaac has been the sous chef at Bistrot Margot since 2009, and has been part of the culinary team since 2005.  He has worked in multiple Chicago kitchens, and is truly a self-taught talent.  Isaac prides himself on being inventive while keeping customer satisfaction and Bistrot Margot's philosophy in mind.

Chef Isaac Weliver

About Local Affair

Chef, Isaac Welivér has launched his new concept, Local Affair. Local Affair combines Isaac's passion for local and sustainably foods with the Chicago lifestyle. Our weekly clients entertain friends, family or collages after work with a three-course-meal experience. All items are purchased fresh before arriving to the clients home. Dinner is crafted from scratch, served and cleaned up in four hours.

Local Affair specializes in Intimate Dinning Entertaining with Grand Hors d'oeuvre, Demo Cuisine™, and Dinners. Enjoy all these options in the comfort of your own home.

About the chef

Chef, Isaac Weliver (The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago), has had a wide range of food-service experiences spanning the United States and recently Latin America. During his time in Costa Rica he realized that food traveled from the farm to the table in a very holistic way. At Rancho Margot, a sustainable resort centered around tourism, meals were prepared from ingredients grown on the property; vegetables were harvested regularly, meanwhile pigs and chickens sacrificed for nourishment.

From there, Isaac brought his new appreciation for the sanctity of food with him to Essence Arenal, Backpackers & Travelers Retreat, situated alongside Volcano Arenal, in Costa Rica. Here, fresh milk was carried down the mountain daily, bananas harvested from the jungle by machete, and drinks created with Lemones which guests helped to pick. Chef Isaac created thematic dinners, along with the guided participation of his international guests.

Time spent in these holistic food environments caused Isaac to rethink the conventional methods used in the U.S. Food Industry. Now operating with seasonal, hormone/pesticide free, local foods in mind, his mission is to help bring sustainability into Chicago’s food system, by strengthening the connections to our local resources.

Chef Jim Chapman

About the chef:

Jim began his culinary career honing his culinary skills in some of Chicago’s top restaurants after earning a culinary degree at Kendall College in 1998.  Working with some of Chicago's great chefs.

Jim joined Eurest Dining Services in the fall of 2005. In December of 2011 Jim Became the Executive District Chef At the Urban Market in Chase Tower. Chef Chapman’s loves to include the people he feeds in the creativity of his food as well as the adventurous education that he offers in is his passion for food. His creative menu ideas have brought a new culinary awareness to the cafés he over sees.

In 2009 Chef Chapman participated at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundations Grand Chef’s Gala and took home the Peoples Choice Award during the Jean Bonchet awards presentation. When asked to participate once again in 2011 he and the Eurest team took home the SECOND consecutive win as the Peoples Choice of the Event!

About the Restaurant:

Located on the Plaza level of Chase Tower in downtown Chicago and open for breakfast and lunch, Urban Market is a foodie’s candy store. The cafe teamed up with local chefs to feature their cuisine, including Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless, Jimmy Bannos’ Big Easy, Masala by Marigold, and Mrs. Levy’s Deli. In addition, the cafe also includes American classics, grill, Asian sauté, sushi, Mediterranean and pizza house-made and Au Bon Pain soups, custom mixed salads and salad bar, and a healthy option called Whole+Sum (under 600 calories).

The final touch – delicious baked goods by Cari’s Creations. Urban Market is also open for breakfast! Enjoy a custom omelet or scramble, yogurt and fruit, bagels, and more. Need to wake up? Starbucks and Pura Vida organic coffee brewed all day.

Chef Jim Hoban

About the Company:
"In 2001 the Four Corners Tavern Group began with the acquisition of
the Schoolyard Tavern & Grill. The company was founded on four basic
principles: creative bar fare, superior service, classic design and a
relaxed atmosphere. The vision of Four Corners is to open an
establishment in all of the unique neighborhoods throughout Chicago.
At Four Corners you will find a commitment to serving creative bar
food from a variety of local producers as well as pouring the best
domestic and craft beers."

About the Chef:

Jim Hoban (Executive Chef)
Jim’s diverse culinary career boasts a variety of successes: from fine-dining executive chef to instructor; from general manager to entrepreneur; from upscale caterer to his current role as an integral member of The Four Corners Taverns Group. Combining a thorough, grounded knowledge of the restaurant industry with his passion for the culinary arts, Jim oversees all aspects of restaurant operations for FCTG properties – including vender relations, menu creation, and kitchen design and staffing.

Leaving a successful career in business to pursue his zeal for cooking, Jim graduated with honors from The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago in 1993. During his tenure as Executive Chef and General Manager of Bucktown’s Café Absinthe, he improved upon the eclectic restaurant’s already high ratings and grew business by 30%. As an entrepreneurial venture, he created a much sought-after in-home cooking class and upscale catering business. Profitable within its first year of business, the buzz surrounding “Chef Jim” earned him an appearance on the WGN Morning Show as well as inclusion in numerous articles, most notably a feature in The Chicago Tribune food section. Other contributions to the culinary world include teaching at the Calphalon Center, serving as an advisory board member of The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, and volunteering on the Chef Committee of Robert Morris College.

Jim joined FCTG in 2002 as Executive Chef of The Schoolyard Tavern and has been instrumental in the launch of The Gaslight Bar and Grill, The Brownstone Tavern, Sidebar Grill, Kirkwood Bar and Grill, WestEnd Bar and Grill, Benchmark and The Crossing.  He lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.

Chef Joe Scroggs

About the Chef & his Food Truck:

My name is Joe Scroggs, Owner and Operator of "The Roost." Chicago's first chicken shack on wheels.  We specialize in authentic Southern comfort foods.  Most of the recipes we feature on our menu were handed down to me from my Grandmother and her mother before her.  Nothing too complicated, just simple wholesome scratch cooking.  Our truck's menu will rotate with the seasons so once Summer is fully upon us we'll begin to include some low country treats I picked up after living/working/learning in Charleston, SC.

I came to Chicago via a small town just outside Chapel Hill, NC (Pittsboro if you're familiar with the area).  While driving cross country I swung through the Windy City to visit some friends from Charleston.  A weekend turned into a week turned into a month turned into 4 years.  The idea came to me to launch a food truck, and further a Southern themed truck, after seeing all the buzz around Chicago's young food truck movement.  Even now there are only about 45-50 trucks on the road. Of all those, few, if any, were offering true Southern staples.  A few doing BBQ (doing a great job of it) but that's not all Southern food's about. I thought, if there is any big city outside of the South that would take to my traditional cuisine, it would be Chicago.

So, The Roost was born.
 

Chef John McLean

About the restaurant
Burger Bar Chicago, voted Metromix's best new burger of 2011, and Sono Wood Fired, with mentions in Chicago Magazine and Michelin rated, opened in early August of 2010. Both restaurants boast quality farm to table ingredients. Burger Bar serves up hand crafted stacked burgers and over 100+ craft brews. Sono Wood Fired features some of the best wood-fired pizzas in Chicago, antipasti and an extensive and affordable wine list. In just under a year, Burger Bar Chicago and Sono Wood Fired have become a popular destination within the Chicago restaurant scene.


About the chef
Formerly the Chef d'Cuisine for Levy Restaurants Chef John McLean brings to his new restaurants a passion for great food, big bold flavors, creativity, and local farm to table ingredients.

Chef Jon Novack

About the Chef:

Mark Palicki is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Chef for the Fortune Fish Company in Bensenville, Illinois.  He is directly in charge of all marketing for the company which includes managing Fortune’s sustainability program, providing seafood and sustainability training for their customers and local culinary schools.  Palicki brought to Fortune over 10 years of restaurant experience including, General Manager, Seafood Buyer and Chef at several well known establishments.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from The University of Houston in Houston, Texas and an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

About the Company:

Fortune Fish Company works with fishermen from every coast to bring the highest quality fresh fish, shellfish and gourmet items to the Midwest United States.  The fish is flown in whole and processed at their Bensenville facility to be delivered to the finest restaurants and high-end retail stores.  As a leader in the seafood industry, Fortune Fish believes it is the company’s responsibility to provide, promote and market sustainable seafood products from wild fisheries and aquaculture.  Their marketing team regularly travels to do education and cooking demonstrations to inspire consumers and build awareness of sustainable seafood.

Chef Jorge E L Alvarez

About the Chef:

Executive Chef, Jorge E Alvarez first became interested in cooking at the age of eighteen while working at Highwood celebrated French Restaurant Carlos. He worked under the tutelage of the likes of Frederick Boyer and Jacky Plutton.

After completing a Photography degree at Columbia, he decided to continue in the culinary field and enrolled at Kendall College in Evanston Illinois where he learned the fundamental skills about cooking and baking.  Soon after graduating college, he apprenticed under Chef Paul Bartalotta while working at Chicago’s illustrious Spiaggia, here he learned modern Italian cooking.

Jorge continued working in the restaurant field, first as an Executive Sous Chef at Chicago’s Auriol and next as Executive Chef, at Chicago’s legendary Swank Lounge.

Now, 15 years and several restaurants later, Chef Alvarez is bringing back the magic with an unpretentious approach to American Cuisine at Chicago’s Grill on the Alley.

About the Restaurant:

On January 31, 1984, The Grill on the Alley, located steps from Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills, opened its doors and became an instant hit. Its continued success has earned The Grill an international reputation for quality and consistency. The three founders developed a concept that still draws fans worldwide. The Grill today continues its legendary traditions in major United States cities by offering an extensive selection of superior quality classic American food served by dedicated professionals in a sophisticated, yet warm and unpretentious atmosphere.

The Grill (as it is sometimes known) was modeled after the great grills of New York and San Francisco; the founders seeking to maintain the tradition of those fine, old establishments by offering first-rate fare, attentive service, and a familiar, dignified atmosphere. The response was tremendous, as The Grill evolved into one of the Los Angeles area’s best known, “must-do” places.

The Grill’s second location was opened in May, 1998, at The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California, in the heart of the Silicon Valley.  The Grill on the Alley in Chicago opened on downtown Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” in June 2000, and is just steps from Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshall Field’s, Water Tower Place, and the John Hancock building. 

The fourth The Grill – known as The Grill on Hollywood – opened in Hollywood’s Hollywood and Highland Entertainment Complex in November 2001. This bustling center is home to the Kodak Theater which hosts The Academy Awards year after year, and attracts locals and tourists alike.

The Grill on the Alley in Dallas, Texas opened in July 2006, and is part of the Galleria Dallas, the busiest upscale shopping destination in the city. The sixth The Grill on the Alley is located at The Promenade at Westlake, a Mediterranean-styled outdoor shopping and entertainment center featuring some of the most well respected merchants in the world. And the most recent addition is The Grill on the Alley Aventura. Located in the Aventura Mall, which is ranked as the number one shopping destination among international visitors

Chef Juan Carlos Tello

About the restaurant and chef:

Sol de Mexico restaurant uses beautiful ingredients, often organic-grown to bring to you the bold flavors and immediate freshness that jump off the tongue just as it does in Mexico.  

Juan Carlos Tello was born in Mexico in the year 1970. My first job was at a restaurant as a dishwasher. I feel very grateful with all the people I've met throughout this journey. They were the ones who taught me with patience everything I know. I am now part of the great team of Sol de Mexico.

773-282-4119 or visit www.soldemexicochicago.com, 3018 N. Cicero Ave., Chicago, IL 60641

Chef Julianne Feder

About the Chef:

Julianne Feder has a diverse culinary background.  In addition to working as a sous-chef for a high end catering company in the New York, Julianne has lived extensively in Italy, France and Spain and has trained under seasoned locals.   Her passion for cooking lies in her love for its ability to connect people across cultures.

 

About the Restaurant:

Italian Products USA, Inc is an artisanal specialty Italian food importer out of New Jersey.  We look to procure the highest quality Italian delicacies and share them with select restaurants and retailers throughout the country.  We believe great quality ingredients are the bases of all great dishes.  Just a touch of one of our products will transform your dish from ordinary to extraordinary!

Chef Kael Klassen

Chef Bio:

Chef Kael Klassen recently joined the culinary staff at Francesca's Forno.  Klassen discovered a love for cooking while working in a restaurant kitchen in Wisconsin, during high school. From there, Klassen followed his passion to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.  Klassen further honed his craft at The Ocean Room Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, working under Chef Kevin Ives.  From there, he worked as a chef at four-star, four-diamond restaurant Peninsula Grill. His budding career then took to Hawaii, where he worked as a sous chef at Merriman’s on the island of Kauai, and later he returned to Chicago and became an executive chef for Francesca’s on Chestnut.

 

Klassen’s love for travel and varied background make him an eclectic and ever-evolving chef. His diverse experience is reflected in his menu, and he is re-working the menu at Francesca’s Forno to include exciting new dishes that are flavorful and seasonally inspired.

Restaurant bio:

Opened in July 2011, the renovated Francesca’s Forno, from acclaimed restaurateur Scott Harris, brings the small plates trend to Bucktown. Executive Chef Kael Klassesn’s seasonally driven menu features rustic, Italian options including antipasti, salads, pizzas, pastas and more. Forno also features an extensive wine list with more than 50 organic, sustainable and/or biodynamic bottles all for under $50. Seasonally inspired cocktails and brews can also be perfectly paired with each menu item. Francesca’s Forno is located at 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago and can be reached at (773) 770-0184. Forno opens everyday at 5:00 p.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Find them on Twitter @francescaforno and on Facebook at “Francesca’s Forno.”

Chef Kate Neumann

About her business:

At the Kitchen Door Catering and Consulting provides a range of services to help customers achieve desired goals.  From designing lush backdrop and delectable personalized menus for a fabulous fete to increasing efficiency in an existing restaurant to product, recipe, and/or menu development, we collaborate with the clients to understand their wants and needs.  Together we design a program using a multitude of services and expertise to best meet the objectives.

At the Kitchen Door LLC was founded in 2010 by Pastry Chef Kate Neumann and has worked with clients including Boka, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Benny’s Chop House, and LooseLeaf Lounge.

About the chef:

Kate Neumann draws inspiration from the fundamental role food played in her youth. She explains, “Dining was integral to my family.  We cooked together almost every evening and then gathered around the table for our home cooked meal.”

After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in English Literature and Spanish Language and a minor in Art History, she attended the Le Cordon Bleu Chicago (CHIC) for Culinary Arts but found her passion in the pastry kitchen.  Internships at Chicago’s Bittersweet and Blackbird restaurants led to an apprenticeship with noted Pastry Chef Mindy Segal at mk restaurant.  In 2004, Kate was promoted to head pastry chef at mk where she developed her distinctive style, adding wit, whimsy and new subtleties to traditional European and American desserts.  Kate took a hiatus from the kitchen in 2007 and used her English Literature degree and kitchen experience to assist renowned Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea in editing his award winning Alinea cookbook.  Her desire to further her own culinary expertise propelled her back to the kitchen as a full time pastry chef at Lula Café where she expanded her offerings, both sweet and savory, complimenting her plated, fine dining desserts with innovative brunch specials, contemporary breakfast pastries, and evolving seasonal jams and jellies to augment brunch and cheese services.  She developed a passion for the farm to table movement, working with seasonal, locally grown produce in cooperation with regional organic farms.  Her curiosity further inspired her to seek out innovative artisanal products and techniques. 

Kate has used her varied and extensive experience to establish her own catering and consulting business, At the Kitchen Door. 

Sense of community, culture, and tradition infuse her preparations and menus.  Kate has garnered recognition in Food & Wine, Food Arts, Pastry Art and Design and Lucky magazine, among others.

Chef Katherine Duncan

About the chef and confectionary business:

Katherine's upbringing on a sustainable Wisconsin farm allowed for unique exposure to the world of real food that was hormone and pesticide-free. Katherine’s mother taught her that using fresh cream from the family's pasture-grazed Jersey cows was the secret ingredient to creating batches of soft, old-fashioned caramels.

At 10 years old, Katherine began her confectionary career selling her very own honey vanilla caramels. Cleverly named  “Katherine’s Karamels”, business was tough as her hometown of Wilson, WI (population 300) didn't have much of a market for artisan confections. Her father aided in her business by selling caramels at his office for a mere 25 cents each.  The sweets were a hit and Katherine’s entrepreneurial drive took off.

Fast forward to 2006, where Katherine is living in Chicago with her husband, Frank. For years they'd made truffles and caramels as gifts, and had numerous requests for more. Katherine noticed there was a void in the eco-friendly field of for confections, and decided that was the time to re-ignite the idea of running her own business.

In the fall of 2006, Katherine launched Katherine Anne Confections with a specialized focus on classic truffles and caramels using local and organic ingredients. Working out of several rental kitchens over the next few years, Katherine grew her business from 3 small coffee shops and bicycling her deliveries all over town, to her first employees, a full line-up of farmers markets, selling in grocery stores, and an online store.

In the fall of 2010, Katherine acquired her own production studio in Logan Square, opening it to the public for truffle-making parties, and truffle & caramel pop-up events. She keeps a full docket with wedding favors, sweets tables, corporate gifts, and retail orders. Creating the confections is no small feat: Katherine and her team roll and dip her truffles by hand, thus creating an elegant and unique treat every single time.

Katherine Anne Confections can be found online and in select stores all over Chicagoland including select Whole Food Markets, Marion St Cheese Market and the Fairmont Hotel, to name a few. For more information on Katherine Duncan or Katherine Anne Confections, please visit http://www.katherine-anne.com.

Chef Kevin Cuddihee

About the restaurant:

The comfortable atmosphere, with artful second-life decor, makes TWO a perfect West Town gathering place.  Influenced by the quality and tradition of family run butcher shops, TWO sources from trusted, small wid-western farms.  They are often the first Chicago restaurant to feature renowned items, such as heritage Hampshire pork.  TWO chefs make all their bacon, sausage, jerky, cheese, sauces and pastas in house and are constantly exploring new and seasonal dishes to feature those ingredients. 

About the chef – Chef Kevin Cuddihee, Chef de Cuisine

Kevin has spent that last 18 years working in various restaurants in the mid-west.  After culinary school he worked at the world famous Alinea Restaurant in Chicago and also as a Private Chef.  Kevin uses locally sourced ingredients to create bold rustic dishes.  In addition to his extensive culinary background, Kevin is also a Level One Sommelier.

Chef LaLa

Chef’s bio:

A classically-trained chef, certified nutritionist and sought-after spokeswoman who runs her own high-end catering business, SAVOR!, in Los Angeles, Chef LaLa regularly doles out her savvy solutions for better living at conferences worldwide and on international and national television, including NBC’s TODAY! show, Martha Stewart, Dr. Oz, Univision and CNN en Español, and as an expert on America Now.  Chef LaLa is a cook book author, and a celebrity in her own right--she is now appearing as the Chef Consultant on UNIVISION's hit reality TV series called "Dale Con Ganas!" (Spanish language version of "The Biggest Loser").

Company bio:

Chef LaLa brings authentic Latin home cooking to your kitchen with the recent launch of her CHEF LALA HOMEMADE line of all natural, easy-to-use sauces, marinades and oils, now available in Chicago exclusively at Treasure Island.   Her recipes for these products are from her family’s traditions — make them part of your family’s traditions for healthy and flavorful meals in your home.

Chef Mary Gonzales

About the Chef:

Mary graduated from CCA (Center for Culinary Arts), Manila, Philippines. She has a diploma in Pastry Arts and Technology Management. After graduating Mary took a few ventures. She was able to take a job at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel in Manila working as a pastry cook, worked for Citadel-Caltex as one of the head baker. Mary had also put a business together with three of her friends and named it AIJJ Inc., a produce company supplying to restaurants, cafes and bars. But in the end of 2001, Mary moved to Chicago to follow the American dream 

Mary started working for Orange Brunch With A Peel in 2002 as a line cook but later on promoted to be a Kitchen Manager. By 2006, Mary took a break and had her second child. But she was still around to help out when she was able. In 2010, Mary had started working at Honey Café in Glen Ellyn IL. as one of their Chefs. But Mary found herself working back in Chicago and working at Orange with a peel. Working also part-time at Terzo Piano in the Art Institute of Chicago.

An opportunity came where Mary was offered a full time position at Orange as the Kitchen Manager and soon after, Executive Chef Luis Pindter of Range Restaurant offered Mary a spot as their Pastry Chef. Besides being a Kitchen Manager for Orange, Lincoln Park and a Pastry Chef at Range, Mary had challenged herself even more and had decided to follow her dream as a baker and she has started baking personalized cakes, cupcakes and pastries. Mary was always taught that working hard and staying on the path that you choose will definitely get you somewhere. 

About the restaurant:

Range is located in the heart of Lincoln Park, situated in the DePaul Neighborhood. Executive Chef Luis Pindter relies on a network of local, organic farmers for the pristine ingredients that form the basis for his creative dishes, and the ever-changing menu reflects the best that the season has to offer, which embodies simplicity and sophistication.

Range is here with a mission to apply our passions toward the connections, laughter, and delight kindled when joining family and friends at the table. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, plus brunch on the weekend. 

As for the atmosphere, like the food, it is simple yet sophisticated. 

Chef Michael Ponzio

About the Chef:

The hilarious chemistry between Rosebud On Rush’s Executive Chef and CIBO cookbook author Michael Ponzio and his accomplice Nancy Barabba cannot be ignored. The Rosebud Culinary Comedy Duo will keep you laughing as you watch authentic Italian recipes freshly prepared before your eyes! This helpful demonstration with a comical twist is interactive, with the ‘Beauty and the Boss’ alternating between teasing each other and taking questions from the audience. You will even get to sample the dishes and get copies of the recipes to take home!

Chef Mike Schoen

 

About the restaurant:

Located at 5148 N Clark St. in Andersonville, Hopleaf Bar serves fine food, better beer, wine and spirits including Belgian specialties.

Bib Gourmand winner in 2011, 2013 and 2014

Hopleaf is a tavern with more than 300 beers and 65 on draft, craft and Belgium... many in it's own special glass.

With many different levels and areas to enjoy, Hopleaf will exceed your culinary expectations.  In the summer, visit our outdoor patio.

Famous for Belgian style mussels & frites... creative entrees and sandwiches, like the CB&J made with cashew butter, Fig Jam and Raclette cheese.

About the chef:

Chef Michael Schoen of Hopleaf

Born and raised in Cleveland OH, Chef Mike began his career like most as a dishwasher at the age of 15.  He dabbled in the front of house for a bit but it was the kitchen where he made his claim... he was hooked.

With no formal training, Mike began his real culinary career under James Beard award winning Chef/Owner Heather Haviland at Lucky's Cafe in Cleveland. He eventually became the Sous Chef there.

Before leaving Cleveland to come to Chicago, Mike ran Cleveland's first gourmet food truck "Dim & Dun Sum" with two other local chef's.

Hopleaf was Mike's first kitchen in Chicago in 2011 where he began as a line cook and quickly moved into a Sous Chef position.  After 3 years with Hopleaf, Miked was offered the Chef de Cuisine position at Mindy's Hot Chocolate... running the kitchen there for another James Beard award winning Chef, Mindy Segal.

4 short months later, owner Michael Roper of Hopleaf asked for Mike to return as Executive Chef to replace the departing chef Ben Sheagran... thrilled with the opportunity, Mike quickly accepted and returned to Hopleaf.

Food for Mike is about family and having fun... coming from an Irish Catholic family has influenced Mike a lot.  He cherishes his childhood memories and feels as he grows, the food he creates has a direct line from how he was raised and today he thanks his mom for giving him that.

Mike lives in Andersonville with his wife and son.

Chef Monica Rodriguez

About the restaurant:

Since we opened our doors back in 2001, the BackStage Bistro has been a student-operated restaurant. It is the final course of our culinary students’ education and is an opportunity for them to showcase what they have learned throughout this program. The BackStage Bistro, with the help of Ai’s talented chefs and instructors, introduces the students to operating a full service-dining establishment. During the eleven-week program, students rotate throughout all positions in both front and back of the house. The students and instructors at BackStage Bistrot are dedicated to making this the best possible dining experience for you.

Throughout the quarter we are pleased to introduce you to foods and flavors from around the globe. Some types of cuisines we have featured in the past are Italian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian and African.

For dinner we offer a three-course meal with choice of starter entrée and a dessert for $22 per person 

We hope you join us on our global food adventure!

 

About the chef:

Monica Rodriguez is a soon to be graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art Culinary Arts program. She has taught several cooking classes in Chicago, most notably in Sushi Rolling and Creative Grill Outs. She has been in the hospitality industry for almost a decade in various front of house positions but has always found herself drawn to the kitchen. Having traveled extensively, she first began cooking for large groups of people in northern Spain and first awakened her love for fresh and seasonal products. She has studied in Ghana, West Africa, interned in Singapore and still visits her family in Colombia, South America. The influence of these cultures and their cuisines can be seen in her dishes. Under the mentorship of Chef Geoff Felsenthal, she is pleases to provide you with a sampling of his international recipes that are prepared and served by the students at the Backstage Bistro.

 

Chef Mumtaz Rizvi

About the restaurant:

About Bombay Bliss: Bombay Bliss strives to be the best Indian restaurant available in Lakeview. Bombay Bliss features a very diverse menu with dishes from various cuisines from all regions of India. We offer our guests, chicken, lamb and vegetarian selections. We also offer vegan and gluten free dishes for our guests. Our menu also boasts of some International  fare like Kung Pao Chicken cooked Indian Chinese style, Tuscan Hummus and Shrimp Ceviche to name a few.  Bombay Bliss serves great food at reasonable prices. We treat our guests in the traditional way. Our service commitment fosters a “customer is always right” attitude.

About the chef:

Chef Mumtaz Rizvi: Mumtaz Rizvi is owner chef of Bombay Bliss. He has owned several restaurants in the Chicago Area. Kanval Palace Restaurant was his first venture and by far the most popular. At the Taste of Chicago Booth President Bill Clinton was the first President to taste his Tandoori Chicken and Vegetable Samosa at the 1997 Taste of Chicago. He also owns Little India Restaurant in Edgewater. Bombay Bliss is his newest venture. Why the name change? Mumtaz Rizvi wanted to offer a wide variety of cuisine to his clients. Rizvi participated in several events throughout Chicago. ISNA convention where he served food for 30,000 people 3 times a day, Asian Festival at the Daley Plaza, Taste of Chicago, and Mayor’s Special Dinner for Indian and Pakistani Independence Day celebrations.  He is very popular for high volume catering, on site catering, and quality food. 

Chef Nate Park

About the restaurant:

Knife & Tine, located in Chicago's lively Lincoln Park neighborhood, serves a menu of New American cuisine. The knowledgeable staff and comfortable setting allows guests a fun and approachable dining experience. This neighborhood gem offers an excellently curated wine list, as well as craft cocktails and local beers. Knife & Tine is excellent for your next event! The naturally lit Atrium can seat parties up to 30 guests, or for more intimate dining, the Alcove can seat 8 guests also offering them a window view to the magic that happens in the kitchen. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, Knife & Tine is the perfect go to restaurant in Lincoln Park.

About the Chef:

Chef Nate Park got his start in Chicago at Moto back in 2008. While he enjoyed the challenge of fine dining, he wanted to create a menu that reflected who he was as a chef. His passion for high-quality fresh ingredients results in his unique cuisine and creativity. The fun, playful menu he has crafted at Knife & Tine emulates his Midwestern roots. His food amplifies new American cuisine utilizing a melting pot of ideas, influenced by local flavors as well as around the world.

Chef Nia Asimis

Chef Nia Asimis

ABOUT NIA

Nia Asimis grew up with an appreciation for food, which was only enhanced by the experience of her father, who was in the wholesale food industry. As a child, her father taught her how to distinguish between fine quality foods and poor quality foods from many different regions. Yet due in great part to her Greek heritage, Nia has always had a special affinity for Mediterranean cuisines.

 

Using what her father had taught her, Nia found suppliers of the highest quality ingredients imported from all over the world to create a tour of Mediterranean cuisine through the Greek tradition of meze, or small dish cuisine. Meze is not usually served as an appetizer. It is served alone or with other small dishes (mezedes) to enhance one's eating experience by creating a diverse range of tastes. Mezedes are very much the equivalent to Spanish tapas. Nia Restaurant has a wide-ranging variety of fine imported wines from Greece, Italy, Spain, and France to complement the meze dining experience. Through the consistent use of high quality ingredients, she hopes to take her guests on a voyage across Europe's southwest, one dish, and one glass, at a time. 

Nia is grateful to work with a committed staff who shares her enthusiasm for regional cuisine. With their help, the menu truly comes to life and guests are immersed in an intimate, cozy environment. Whether enjoying a romantic, candle-lit dinner or dining al-fresco underneath our widespread awning on Randolph Street, you will truly feel transported to another time and place.

Chef Nick Lacasse

About the Chef

Chef Nick Lacasse has spent fifteen years in top restaurants from Maine to Seattle and nearly ten years in the kitchens of forward thinking chefs here in Chicago. In collaboration with Consulting Chef Shawn McClain, Nick opened as Executive Chef of The Drawing Room in 2007. A hunger for experimentation, and new combinations led him to re-fine and re-concept the opening of a small plates style menu for a multi-course format, and a la carte options. Volunteering time for charity events and supporting Chicago food programs has been a great pleasure for Chef Nick, representing with other Chicago Chefs at the White House for the launch of Michelle Obamas 'Lets Move' campaign.

About the Restaurant

The Drawing Room is a sixty seat restaurant and cocktail lounge focusing on seasonal flavors in the kitchen as well as behind the bar. Opened in November 2007 to rave local reviews, has gained national exposure over the past five years in: Food and Wine, Gourmet, and countless internet blog sites. Chief Mixologist, Charles Joly and Executive Chef, Nick Lacasse for years have hosted the DR "At The Bar' cocktail dinner series, with market inspired menus, and themed seasonal offerings. Balance is an underlying theme with the Drawing Room creative team, and their discussions on flavors.

Chef Patricio Sandoval

About the restaurant:

Mexican delicacies with a decidedly modern flair by Chef Patricio Sandoval arrived in September 2009 via Mercadito in the River North neighborhood (108 W. Kinzie St). Emphasizing superior ingredients and value, Chef Patricio and his brothers/partners, Alfredo and Felipe Sandoval, draw from their childhood under the tutelage of their father, Manuel Sandoval, who once owned the world-class restaurant Madeiras in Acapulco, Mexico, to offer authentic, imaginative Mexican fare. Mercadito, Spanish for “little market,” is the fourth location for the Sandoval brothers, owners and operators of the popular Mercadito Avenue B and Mercadito Grove in New York City and Mercadito in Miami.

 

About the chef - Patricio Sandoval, Chef/Partner:

Practically a gourmand from birth, Mercadito Chef and Partner, Patricio Sandoval almost seems genetically engineered for a culinary life. Born on June 16, 1974 in Acapulco, Mexico, Sandoval virtually grew up in the kitchen of his father Manuel Sandoval’s world class restaurant Madeiras. After moving to California to attend high school, Sandoval left for New York City to work with his older brother Richard, who also followed in the family’s culinary footsteps with his own restaurant, Maya. It was while working alongside Richard that Sandoval discovered his passion for cooking.

Although his brother was aware of his potential, Sandoval started on the “ground floor” of the restaurant business – eventually working his way up from an apprentice in 1998 to Sous Chef. After moving back to California in 1999 to help his Richard set up Maya in San Francisco and working as Sous Chef at Hawthorne Lane in 2000, Sandoval decided that it was time to seriously train as a chef. 

Returning to New York City, he enrolled in The French Culinary Institute and further refined his skills while working with Peter Hoffman at the legendary Savoy in 2000. Upon graduating from The French Culinary Institute, Sandoval returned to the Savoy but was tapped by his brother Richard to act as a Consulting Chef for his latest restaurant, Pampano, in 2004. It was during this time that Sandoval began to consider opening his own restaurant.

Sandoval’s inspiration for Mercadito Restaurants drew from his experiences shopping with his mother in the markets of his native Mexico. The young Sandoval instinctively gravitated towards the small market stalls where local merchants sold native delicacies that fueled a day of bargaining. Never forgetting these delectable yet uncomplicated dishes, Sandoval strived to capture the flavor and energy of this cuisine. Operating four Mercadito restaurants, New York, Chicago, and Miami by the end of 2009, it is safe to say that Sandoval more than exceeded his goal. These restaurants are a fitting tribute to the rich culinary tradition that began with his father Manuel and lingers throughout the Sandoval family today.

Chef Paula Haney

 

About the pastry shop:

 

The Hoosier Mama Pie Company is a new artisanal bakery striving to be a great “ old” pie company. We make our pies by hand with the best ingredients we can find. It’s that great piece of diner pie you’ve never had.

Chef Roger Herring

About the Chef

Roger Herring, Chef/Owner of Socca & Redd Herring Food & Wine, turned his passion for life and food into his own restaurant Socca in 2004 after several successful culinary adventures. A Chicago native, Roger completed his degree at The Culinary Institute of America in New York, NY and was the opening Sous Chef for Green Dolphin and 312 restaurants. He had a life-changing experience when he moved to world renowned Limoges, France where he was able to further develop his French cooking techniques while observing the operations of successful restaurateurs. Roger returned to the states as Executive Chef for Taste of America catering and then combined his passion for food and music by catering meals for various muscal groups across the country such as U2, Sheryl Crow, Prince, Cypress Hill, Linkin Park, and the Phish 2003 Summer Tour. Socca and Roger have been featured in several culinary publications and also participate in many philanthropic events providing delicious food benefitting a number of charitable organizations. Roger recently cooked Thanksgiving dinner in South Africa for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Celebrity Chef Art Smith recently included Roger’s pizzettes from Socca on the Food Network program “Best Thing I Ever Ate”. When Roger is not cooking up some of the best pizzas, steaks, fish and pastas for Socca in Chicago, he is often coordinating culinary events like Moonshine Restaurants Annual “Rib-a-Que “where chefs from all over Chicagoland compete in Wicker Park for the bragging rights of “Best Ribs”. He has created other competitions for local chefs at the Calphalon kitchen and has participated in nationwide food and wine festivals throughout the country. Most recent and noteworthy events include the Food & Wine Festival in Aspen, Co and Miami, FL. Roger also teaches baby nutrition classes and seminars on how to create more heatlhy baby food through the Kenmore live kitchen, and has been featured in Parenhood magazine. In most recent news, Roger has opened up his second restaurant named Redd Herring Food & Wine, and it has been a welcome edition to the Clarendon Hills downtown. Roger teamed up with fellow head chef David Gollan, who was formerly “Top Chef” Stephanie Izzard’s most trusted sous chef at her first restaurant, The Girl and The Goat. Roger is always happy to participate in opportunities where he can show his passion while giving back to the community.

Abou the Resturaunt

“Fools” can go on “waiting an eternity” “down the street” say regulars of this”hidden gem” in Lakeview dishing up “reasonably priced” “upper-end” Italian-French “must tries” in “laid-back”, bistro style surroundings; service is “attentive” and “outstanding.” Sweeping urban panoramic views outline a beautiful dining room adjoined to a separate and stylish bistro-bar room. Socca’s delightful flatbread “pizzettes” were featured on the Food Networks hit show, “The best thing I ever ate.” Serving brunch and dinner with chef specials daily, socca also features an extensive and creative wine list. Outdoor patio seating.

Chef Samantha Zumdick

About the Chef and Company:

Samantha Zumdick is an eater and cook of vegan cuisine. She has been working in restaurants for nearly 14 years executing a variety of menus but more than anything she loves cooking plant-based foods using all natural ingredients. Sammi, as her friends often call her, has been working at Upton’s Breakroom since it opened its doors in July of 2013. Besides the Breakroom, some of her favorite places to grab vegan grub in Chicago are the Handlebar, Dimo’s, and Big Star. She is inspired by cuisines of the world and pasta as well as fresh linens on dirty tables. Originally from Kentucky, she loves Chicago’s Midwest charm and believes that the city’s fun filled summers make up for the bitter winters.

Nicole Sopko is the Vice President of Upton’s Naturals – a completely vegan seitan company based in Chicago, IL. Her job gives her the opportunity to travel the world eating food prepared by some of the best vegan chefs. Nicole is also a certified yoga teacher and has been vegan for over 17 years. In addition to her role at Upton’s, she also operates two yoga centers, one of which is located within the Upton’s Naturals factory building.

Chef Sarah Chang

About the Company:

The Culinistas is a weekly home chef agency, which began in 2006 in New York City and now staffs chefs in Los Angeles and Chicago as well. The service is simple and non-obtrusive. Once a week, a chef plans a menu of eight dishes tailored to your tastes that can be mixed, matched, and eaten throughout the week.  She does the grocery shopping then comes to your home and cooks all of the food.  She organizes everything into labeled containers in the fridge, cleans up, and tip-toes out the door.  The kitchen is clean, smells amazing, and all you have to do is reheat. It accounts for about 70% of your meals and it's only $300/wk plus groceries.

About the Chef: 

Sarah Chang has worked with The Culinistas since its inception. She worked for the company in New York City during college and moved back to her hometown of Chicago to become a Culinista. She worked an impressive stint at Belly Shack with Chef Bill Kim and has catered, taught, and privately cheffed various events around the city. You'll almost always find her at the Green City Market chatting with farmers and finding inspiration for the week's meals. Sarah is dedicated to health and nutrition, and you'll find that in everything she prepares. She loves working in home kitchens taking global flavors and applying them to local ingredients. Her food is always fresh, flavorful and elegantly presented.

 

Chef Saul Roman

About the restuarant:

At El Mariachi Tequila Bar & Grill, we offer a more genuine and unique dining experience than the typical Mexican restaurant with an extensive selection of over 150 tequilas (100% Blue Agave), handcrafted premium margaritas, our famous tableside guacamole and regional but unique Mexican cuisine.

About the Chef:

Saul Roman started his career in international food in Mexico City but focused on the Mexican cuisine.  He worked in various states of Mexico, in restaurants and hotels alike of high prestige.

With 19 years experience in the field, in Chicago he has worked as a chef in various well known restaurants as well as aided in the opening of a few places such as Salpicon, Zapatista, Adobo Grill, Zacalo and the most recent prior to El Mariachi, Barbakoa.

Saul has now taken over the kitchen operations of El Mariachi Tequila Bar as Executive Chef bringing about new flavor profiles and imaginative dishes all while staying true to and conserving the traditional Mexican values of all his dishes.

Chef Sean Sanders

Chef Bio:

Chef Sean Sanders was born and raised in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. About 15 years ago he graduated from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). Since then he has worked at some of Chicago's premiere restaurants including Green Dolphin Street, Rhapsody & Atlantique, to name a few. For a short time Chef Sanders even started his own catering company before landing at Bin 36 where he worked as Sous Chef at both the downtown location and the wine cafe in Bucktown.

In early 2009 Chef Sanders got married and while on his honeymoon in New Zealand he came up with the idea for Browntrout while preparing a fresh caught New Zealand browntrout combined with all local ingredients. "Fresh & sustainable ingredients put together in an elegant yet simple fashion."

Restaurant bio:

 

Browntrout, 4111 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago 773-472-4111. Browntrout is a comfortable, casual fine-dining experience. We grow some our own herbs in our rooftop garden and we use sustainably farmed and/or organic products whenever possible. All our seafood comes from natural waters or sustainable farms. Our meats are all grass-fed free range animals.

Chef Sean Spradlin

About the Restuarant:

The Bedford. Inspired by the Supper Club experience of a bygone era, The Bedford puts a modern-day twist on the concept by offering more than just a restaurant.  Underground but not exclusive, this Wicker Park outpost offers a full nightlife experience without the formality.  Come into the reclaimed landmark bank for a drink or small bite, and end up staying for a full meal, music and more. 

About the Chef:

Sean Spradlin hails from Royal Oak, Michigan. He moved to Chicago in 2006 to pursue his love of all things culinary, beginning his education at Kendall College. After graduation Sean joined the team at HotChocolate. He then moved on to Girl and the Goat, before finding his home as sous chef at The Bedford. His favorite food is fish tacos!

Chef Susan Goss

About the Chef

Susan Goss is executive chef and co-owner of West Town Tavern, which celebrates
contemporary comfort food. A professional chef since 1981, chef Goss is the author of
West Town Tavern: Contemporary Comfort Food with Drew Goss. Chef Goss supports local farmers’ markets and creates menus using local, sustainable foods. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and has been active in Share Our Strength, Taste of the NFL and Feeding America. Each year, West Town Tavern hosts the Annual Girl Food Dinner which raises money to fight hunger in Chicago. A Master Gardener, chef Goss is active in her community and volunteers her time in community gardens, farmer’s markets and mentoring programs.

About the Restaurant:

Susan and Drew Goss have been fixtures in the Chicago restaurant community since 1993 when they opened Zinfandel Restaurant in River North. In 2001 the Gosses found the perfect space to open a small, neighborhood restaurant at 1329 West Chicago Avenue and West Town Tavern opened in May of 2002. Longtime residents of West Town, Susan and Drew are excited to create their dream restaurant in their own community.

Originally from Indianapolis Indiana where they owned and operated Something Different: Carryout Cuisine, Something Different Restaurant and Snax: a Global Tapas Bar, the Gosses have been restaurateurs since 1983. Their restaurants have received accolades from the Wine Spectator, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Esquire Magazine and Gourmet Magazine.

Susan and Drew are well known for their community involvement in Chicago. Susan serves on the Board of Directors for The Greater Chicago Food Depository and West Town Tavern hosts the Annual Girl Food Dinner each May which raises money to fight hunger in Chicago.

Chef Tim Kuck

Tim Kuck is a renowned chef who now heads the catering department for Treasure Island Foods. Kuck is a third-generation chef, taught first by his grandmother and then enrolling at the Jewish Federation to learn more about the kosher culinary tradition (although he himself is not Jewish).  He served as coordinator for the Walnut Room at Marshall Field’s, was Chef/Owner at Slaton’s supper club in Oak Park, and was managing chef and partner of Stir Crazy Asian restaurant.

In 2002 he pivoted from the restaurant business to catering to Hollywood stars and political dignitaries. He even served as Fleetwood Mac’s exclusive caterer during their North American tour in 2003.

Kuck’s passion for food stemmed from the simple, local foods grown near his Ohio hometown of Dayton.  His belief that wholesome, natural ingredients are the basis to any healthy lifestyle translate into each of his dishes and menus.

Chef Tony Recillas

About the Chef:

Chef Tony Recillas has been at the helm as chef and co-owner at Jane's since 1996. He has a long background as a chef, and hails from Mexico City. Tony usually can be seen at Jane's expediting the food from the kitchen. He is a favorite of our regular guests, with his warm smile, he's always ready for a chat. He develops a seasonal dinner menu twice a year, that is mindfully healthy, and delicious!

 

About the Restaurant:

Jane's opened in 1994, as one of the first restaurants to open during the revitalization of Bucktown. We specialize in healthy comfort foods, including vegetarian options.  We are known for offering the neighborhood a variety of favorites, and maintaining a great group of regular customers.  Jane's has a cozy, charming atmosphere, our main dining room has an exposed kitchen and timber ceiling, that reminds guests of a ski lodge, our party room has a french shabby chic feel that is beautiful for every special occasion. Visit us soon!

Menu:

More details coming soon!

Chef Trevor Hoyt

Chef bio:

Trevor Hoyte, Executive Chef of IPO, has created an eclectic menu of New Urban Cuisine inspired by the diverse cultures found in Chicago. Chef Hoyte’s menu at IPO features his signature "shared dishes" including lobster & orzo with fiddle head ferns, enoki mushrooms, sugar snap peas, sweet bread nuggets and lobster bisque; chocolate waffle with chocolate mousse, macerated blueberries, foie gras caramel, and cream cheese.

IPO, an abbreviation for Initial Public Offering tips its hat to the Loop, Chicago's financial district as well as to Chef Hoyte's initial offering of New Urban Cuisine. "My unique interpretation of Contemporary American flavors inspired me to create New Urban Cuisine. My vision is to redefine and create a new food culture in the Loop to bring intrigue and curiosity to the area," said Hoyte.

Hoyte's culinary professional positions placed him in some of Chicago's most highly regarded kitchens including Tru, Green Dolphin, Caliterra and Vintage Wine Bar.

Hoyte is a graduate of New York Food and Hotel Management School with a Certificate in Culinary Arts. Chef Hoyte has parlayed his love of contemporary American Cuisine in this beautiful new restaurant.

Restaurant bio:

IPO showcases New Urban Cuisine with Executive Chef Trevor Hoyte's take on Contemporary American flavors. Housed in the W Chicago City Center, IPO offers Chef's signature small plates and captures the elegant energy of the hotel's 1928 beaux-arts architecture. With the bustle of the financial district, millennium park and theatre district as its backdrop, the space is dipped in a downtown decadence.

Chef Ursula Adduci

About the Chef:

Ursula Adduci baked her first cookies with her grandma in Costa Rica when she was four. She created her first advertising piece when she was eighteen. In her mid twenties she combined both, and that little cookie became a melt-in-your-mouth object of delicious beauty.

Ursula is a creative; not an advertising creative, not a food creative, but an every-hour-of-the-day creative. That’s why Sazon Light is a perfect reflection of herself: color, flavor, imagination and passion at work. That promises a real party on every dish she presents, because that’s the way every Sazon Light dish is born, in a very happy kitchen, full of aromas, noise, and warmth.

In the last decade, Ursula’s cuisine has been tasted by his Majesty the Prince of Spain, three US Presidents, politicians, Nobel Prize Winners and an Academy Award Nominated Actress, every one of them a happy costumer. You will be too.
Ursula is a happy wife and mother that made Chicago her home in August of 2,000.

About her business:

WHAT IS SAZON LIGHT?

Sazon Light is the right meal plan for you.

It’s not about counting calories, it’s about eating well, in healthy, but very tasty portions. Sure, we’ll keep you under the recommended number of calories per day, but we’ll make sure you want to eat your lunch, dinner or snack!

We offer you a suggested weekly menu (substitutions accepted) of lunches, dinners, and snacks, prepared with the freshest ingredients, delivered once a week, for a very affordable price.

In our kitchen you’ll find mostly grass-fed beef, and organic/local ingredients. We reuse our containers and bags.

There isn’t a word like Sazon in the English language. In its romantic, dual meaning in Spanish, Sazon is both: “just the right taste”, and “the perfect moment”, and that’s what we try to bring you in every meal we create.

Chef Victor DeLeon

About the Chef:

Victor DeLeon, a native of Guatemala, became O’Donovan’s Pub and Restaurant’s  chef in October 2006. Victor has, however, been in the kitchen of O’Donovan’s ever since owners Kevin Killerman and Bobby Burleson opened their restaurant, in the former Schulien’s location at 2100 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago on March 1, 1999. Victor worked his way through the ranks, serving in various capacities, until his current position as O’Donovan’s Executive Chef. Victor is responsible for this facility’s daily management operations, scheduling, inventories, and menu development.

Victor DeLeon was born and raised in Guatemala in the small town of Salcaja. He received his high school and college degrees from their local schools. In 1997, Victor graduated with a degree in teaching. He started his teaching career and nine months later, the family, including Victor and his mother, father, and three sisters, came to the USA. They settled in Trenton, New Jersey, and it was then that Victor became interested in the restaurant field. He began as a prep and short order cook and worked in three different restaurants: Leaston’s Pub and Restaurant, Angeloni’s Banquet Hall, and Rocco’s (Italian restaurant).

The big city of Chicago beckoned Victor and he moved here in 1999. Through a friend, he learned of O’Donovan’s new restaurant opening. He then applied for the job of sauté cook, and after a few short weeks, he was elevated to Sous Chef.  Over the past two years, in his spare hours, while working at O’Donovan’s, Victor received invaluable additional culinary training from the Executive Chef of Chicago’s Trattoria No. 10, Douglas D’Avico. Douglas is now Victor’s mentor. This experience and tireless training was instrumental in fine-tuning Victor’s culinary skills.

About the Restaurant:

On March 1, 1999, owners Kevin Killerman and Bobby Burleson opened the doors to O’Donovan’s Pub and Restaurant at 2100 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago (one block west of Lincoln Avenue). They had taken over an old and venerable establishment, well known to the North Center neighborhood as Schulien’s Restaurant and Saloon for over half a century. O’Donovan’s has maintained elements of this bygone ambience, even displaying an original Schulien’s outdoor neon sign in the banquet room. This shows a true potential for sensitivity to the neighborhood and the noble origins of this site.

Today, O’Donovan’s is a hip-happening, comfortable, warm, casual place with its inviting surroundings. The current owners have moved toward an open-air motif, complete with patio dining and an outdoor sidewalk café, during the warm weather months. This area is also “dog friendly.” An All-You-Can-Eat Sunday brunch (see enclosed menu), a late night menu (enclosed), daily specials and a contemporary American menu with an eclectic twist (see enclosed), have kept the crowds coming. A popular feature is their bus transportation to every Chicago Bears home game.

The friendly staff, the lengthy bar—featuring around a dozen brews on tap, a reasonably-priced and diverse menu, and a willingness to please by all the servers makes O’Donovan’s a popular eating and drinking destination. The powers-that-be have kept alive the hallmark of the former Schulien’s by presenting a card trick show. This is available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. Al James performs his magic on Fridays and rotating guest magicians on Saturdays and Sundays.

Chef/Partner, Jeffrey Mauro

JAM is one of the nation’s most celebrated brunch restaurants, including most recently capturing the 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand, for the third consecutive year. JAM treats breakfast & lunch with an unwavering devotion to culinary craftsmanship and service, all the while, maintaining a commitment to affordability.

Chef/Partner, Jeffrey Mauro, a Johnson & Wales Graduate ’97, has honed his craft under the masters of American cuisine - Charlie Trotter, Bradley Ogden, Alfonso Constrisciani CMC, and Bruce Sherman. JAM is a direct reflection of Chef Mauro's culinary philosophy, an artisanal approach focusing on classic dishes in a method that is both innovative and reverent. Chef Mauro's culinary ethics are marked by the use of pure ingredients and handcrafted components to create a very unique breakfast dining experience. 

Notes: JAM originally opened July 17, 2009 in Ukrainian Village on Damen Ave. We relocated to Logan Square in November, 2011. Our signature dish is the Malted Custard French Toast. Hours of operation: 7am – 3 pm, closed Wednesdays. JAM is available for Private Parties on any evening of the year. 

Chefs Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp

 and 

Sunday Dinner Club and Honey Butter Fried Chicken - Chef/Owners Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp

Christine and Josh founded the community-driven Sunday Dinner Club in 2005. Over the last decade, they have carved out a unique place in the Chicago chef and dining community. SDC has received praise from media and critics alike - Christine and Josh were the proud recipients of a Chicago Tribune 2014 Dining Award. Chicago Magazine’s Penny Pollack is most recently quoted, as saying their Tribute to Marcella Hazan Dinner was her favorite meal of 2013. And Sunday Dinner Club is listed in Zagat’s 10 Most Innovative Restaurants in Chicago, despite not being a restaurant. 

Born out of SDC’s annual fried chicken dinners, the two chefs opened their first brick and mortar restaurant, Honey Butter Fried Chicken, along with partners Jen Mayer and Chris Jennings, in August of 2014 to critical acclaim. Their restaurant has been recognized as a top destination restaurant in Chicago by Chicago Magazine, New City, Eater, Time Out Chicago, Chicagoist, Thrillist, Tasting Table, Daily Candy and Zagat. Their progressive business practices have been documented on The Huffington Post’s The Third Metric. The restaurant is most recently featured on ABC’s The Chew, WGN’s Chicago’s Best, ABC’s The Hungry Hound, and in May of 2014 will be featured on NBC’s First Look. The chefs gave a moving keynote speech about building their food-focused businesses at the 2013 Creative Chicago Expo. Their writings have been featured in Chicago Magazine, Chicagoist and on Ruhlman.com.

Sunday Dinner Club hosts community dinner parties in a home setting in the great city of Chicago. The dinners are multi-course meals featuring the best of what is available at city farmer's markets.  The food that we cook is the food we want to eat- seasonal, simple, clean but also refined, thoughtful and painstakingly handcrafted. 

Chefs Ellie Carlson & Mark Howe

The Ups and Downs of Dining à la Downton

Welcome to our event. We sincerely hope you enjoy traveling back in time to experience life above and below stairs in a Manor home c. 1920.  Your hostess for the evening is Mrs. Eaton, the Head Cook. She will be teaching you a cookery class as if you were intending to begin life in service as a cook’s assistant. Upstairs you will meet Mr. Howe, the butler. He will handle the service of the food and train any men in attendance as to how to be a proper footman. Be careful, Mr. Howe is a harsh task master and you might not make the grade.

Part of learning how to cook for a Manor home in this period is an understanding of the various courses required for a proper dinner. The minimum would be five: Soup; Fish; Entrée; Roast, Joint or Game with Vegetables in Accompaniment; and Dessert. If one really wanted to impress one’s guests, there would be at least two choices for each of those courses and perhaps as many as 10 to 12 courses for a really important meal! Mrs. Eaton will explain and demonstrate production and construction techniques for the basic courses. Tastes of at least four courses will be provided.

Mrs. Eaton is played by Ellie. Mr. Howe is played by Mark Howe. Ellie and Mark are caterers with Sweet Symphonie Custom Catering www.sweetsymphonie.com.  This is Sweet Symphonie’s second appearance at the Treasure Island Cooking School. They specialize in homemade offerings with the freshest ingredients. Ellie and Mark are happy to construct custom menus for your event whether it be Historic Cooking or an opportunity to showcase their Sweet and Savory talents with ethnic cuisine and home cooking specialties.

Ellie has been teaching historic cooking classes and performing first person interpretations for more years than she cares to admit. Mark is a filmmaker and software developer by training who is also a fabulous cook. His culinary talents will, unfortunately not be on public display for this event. Butlers do not cook you see. Ellie and Mark will be more than happy, in fact they really hope you ask them to, break character at the end of the event to talk to you about developing this program, researching the food, and any other behind-the-scenes questions that you might want to ask.

Chefs Julian Crews & Betty Hogan

About the company:

At Old Havana Foods, we’re passionate about the culinary traditions of Cuba. Gathering loved ones around the table for spirited conversation, intoxicating music and wondrous food is a family tradition – dating back generations. And today, we’re bringing that rich heritage to food lovers across the globe.

Our versatile Sautéed Seasonings (Sofrito and Chili Cubano) and lightly seasoned Black Beans make it easy to prepare artisan dishes at home - from Latin classics like Arroz con Pollo to American and Mediterranean favorites such as Sweet and Zesty Pulled Pork, Creamy Polenta and many more. Old Havana Foods is the secret to flavorful cooking.

 

About the chefs:
Julian Crews – when he is not out hawking his company’s all natural, gluten free sautéed seasonings and black beans, Crews can be found reporting the news for WGN-TV. Son of Cuban immigrants, Crews’ dream of launching a specialty food company began on the island of Cuba itself when he was on assignment covering an Illinois trade delegation of government and business leaders. After tasting a hotel’s version of the classic Cuban black beans Crews realized that they did even come close to the flavor of those from his treasured family recipes. And the idea of marketing Cuban food began to simmer. Crews put his plan into action and in late 2008 launched Old Havana Foods.com.

Betty Hogan – author of the blog Live To Eat, Hogan is passionate about all things food-related. Daughter of Cuban immigrants, Hogan serendipitously met Crews after hearing him on the radio being interviewed about the upcoming launch of Old Havana Foods. A food industry junkie, Hogan has worked in the bakery, coffee and meat categories of the business helping foodservice operators, consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers increase sales. If she’s not in the kitchen cooking up a new recipe, she’s either Yelping about an establishment she visited or reading about new ones she wants to try.

 

Chefs Nancy Backas & Terry Feingold

About the Catering Company:

Gold’N Pear Catering has been serving the Chicago area for 8 years. With over 25 years of combined experience, we are dedicated to personalized catering,. We are a boutique caterer and that means we want your party to perfectly reflect who you are and what you envision.

We custom design every menu, and serve anywhere from 20 to 300. Whether you want to host a cocktail party or sit-down dinner, upgrade your corporate reception or create a memorable gala fundraiser our chef-driven company with talented waitstaff and barstaff will let you forget the details and enjoy your event. Don’t worry about linen or equipment rentals either—we will handle all the details. We are dedicated to serving flavorful, ethnic and locally-sourced cuisine.

About the Chefs:

Chefs Nancy Backas and Terry Feingold are not only partners in business, but partners in life. Nancy has a degree in Foods in Business and graduated from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. Terry’s intuitive cooking style and meticulous attention to detail has been honed over the years from cooking on the job. He developed his culinary passion by experimenting with ingredients and cooking styles and has developed a creative style that pops with well-developed flavor. 

Chefs Paul Kahan & Cosmo Goss

The Publican

An homage to beer, pork and oysters, The Publican's eclectic menu is inspired by simple farmhouse fare in a space evocative of a European beer hall. Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Cosmo Goss have developed a network of purveyors to supply the restaurant with hand-selected and sustainably-raised fish, seafood and pork. Rustic dishes anchor the menu along with an extensive international beer list developed by partners Donnie Madia, Eduard Seitan and Terry Alexander, featuring 100 ales, lagers, stouts and ciders. The Publican is designed by James Beard Award-winning Thomas Schlesser.

The menu utilizes pristine product prepared to showcase the farmers and fishermen’s bounty. From classic Belgian-style mussels and seafood stew to housemade terrines and charcuterie, the daily rotating menu reflects the best seasonal and local ingredients available. Presented simply and free of adornment, other favorites include beef heart tartare, country ribs and The Publican's signature Farm Chicken, as well as a thoughtful selection of fresh and pickled vegetables.

The restaurant’s expansive layout, strong architectural lines and rustic décor reflect The Publican’s hearty fare. Its spacious interior is dominated by a large walnut communal table designed to recall 16th Century European banquets. Set up in racetrack fashion, the banquet table seats upwards of 100 people with views of the partially open kitchen.

Publican Quality Meats

Evoking old-warm charm, Publican Quality Meats is a butcher shop, neighborhood café, bakery and gourmet market, aptly located in Chicago’s meatpacking district. A multi-faceted property, Publican Quality Meats acts as The Publican’s private dining room by night, as well as a fully functioning catering operation. Publican Quality Meats is the collective vision of Executive Chef Paul Kahan and restaurateurs Donnie Madia, Terry Alexander and Eduard Seitan.

The highly seasonal menu and chef-curated retail offerings include house-made charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, freshly baked breads, specialty coffee drinks and rustic soups and sandwiches developed under the care of Chef Chris Kuziemko. In line with the butcher shop’s thoughtful fare is an eclectic and focused selection of beer and wine.

Reminiscent of Executive Chef Paul Kahan’s father’s smokehouse and delicatessen, Publican Quality Meats harkens back to the time of family run businesses and traditional whole animal butchery. Acting as a commissary kitchen, PQM provides charcuterie, fresh bread and meat to many restaurants in the One Off family.  

Publican Quality Meats’ straightforward design is reflective of its neighborhood, with meat slicers and butcher cases acting as design features. The floor to ceiling tiles, rustic wooden furniture and open retail shelves create an inviting and warm interior seamlessly blending the butcher shop, market and café environments.

Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan

Paul Kahan has become the nationally recognizable face of Chicago chefs. Passionately seasonal, unconventionally creative and dedicated to the inspiration of classical cuisine, Kahan has received international acclaim for Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star, Publican Quality Meats and most recently Nico Osteria. Awarded Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2013 and Best Chef of the Midwest in 2004, Kahan has earned the praise of many who claim him to be one of America’s most influential working chefs.  In 2014 he made the list of the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who in Food & Beverage in America.

A Chicagoan through and through, Kahan grew up around food. His father owned a delicatessen and a smokehouse, and “when I wanted to make a buck,” says Kahan. “I would help my dad take the fish out of the brine, hang them on the racks and wheel them into the smokehouse.”

After a brief post-college stint as a computer scientist, Kahan took a job in the kitchen of Erwin Drechsler’s Metropolis. It was in Dreschler’s kitchen where Kahan realized his true calling. Over the course of 15 years at Metropolis and Erwin, Kahan developed relationships with Midwestern farmers—leaving a permanent mark on his culinary outlook. He further honed his craft at Topolobampo under the tutelage of the award-winning chef Rick Bayless.

In 1999, shortly after Blackbird opened, Food & Wine placed Kahan on their Best New Chefs list, recognizing his highly individual approach to cooking and the talent that Chicago diners have celebrated for years.  Despite accolades and adoration, Kahan’s biggest accomplishment remains his work as a mentor for young chefs. As Kahan puts it, “I have won my awards, what I love is cooking and teaching. If somebody has a great creative vision or a great mind for food, I want to learn from them.” He works to foster empowerment, providing the resources necessary to grow, both as a chef and person.

Kahan is an ardent supporter of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for pediatric cancer research, as well as Pilot Light, an organization dedicated to enhancing school children’s perception of food through hands-on education. Paul Kahan is a devoted husband to his wife Mary, an ardent music lover and bike aficionado.

Chef de Cuisine, Cosmo Goss

Cosmo Goss, The Publican’s chef de cuisine, has restaurants in his blood. Growing up in Santa Barbara, Goss spent his days fishing in the kelp beds off Catalina Island and working in at his parents’ restaurant, Arts and Letters Café. Drawn to the fast-paced nature of the kitchen, Goss took to his roots and enrolled in the culinary program at Johnson and Wales.

After a short stint at Johnson and Wales, Goss returned to Santa Barbara and began working at The Hungry Cat.  Under the helpful supervision of Chef Dylan Fultonier, Goss fused his love of fishing with his passion for cooking, and began honing his skills as a butcher and salumi maker.

Feeling he had outgrown the Santa Barbara culinary scene, Goss relocated to New York City.  Goss staged at the acclaimed French Seafood restaurant, Le Bernardin, and learned the intricacies of seafood butchery. At Gramercy Tavern, he learned the importance of utilizing whole animals. While the dynamic nature of New York City appealed to Goss, he missed the West Coast and returned to Santa Barbara and The Hungry Cat.

While back in California, Goss was introduced to Paul Kahan, whose appreciation for traditional whole animal butchery appealed to his developing aesthetic. With an offer to work at The Publican, and further his education, Goss moved to Chicago and dove into the art of butchering and salumi making. After a year-long stint at The Publican, where he rose quickly through the ranks of the kitchen, Goss was hand selected by Kahan to head the butchery operations at Publican Quality Meats. In April of 2013, Goss showcased his butchering skills at Cochon555’s Chicago competition where he took first place and earned the title “Prince of Porc.” In August of 2013, Goss participated in Brewery Ommegang and Saveur Magazine’s Hop Chef, winning the national competition.

In March of 2014, when the opportunity presented itself, Goss was the natural fit for chef de cuisine of his favorite restaurant, The Publican.

 

Wine and Beer samplings provided by:

 and  

 

Dejan Petrovic & Diana Tomask

Vino Et Spiritus, Inc.:

Dejan Petrovic came onto the Chicago Restaurant scene in 1990 when he started working in kitchens and later became the wine educator for Chicago's Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. He worked for Union Beverage Distribution Company and an Italian wine importer.  In 2008, Dejan combined his background, experience, and passion for wine and established Vino et Spiritus, a national importer of wine and spirits from the Balkans, with his business partner. Today, Vino et Spiritus is a full service national importer and local distributor in Illinois and the United States. Vino et Spiritus continues to expand its wine and spirits portfolio to include wine and spirits from all over the world.

Emmi Roth USA

Emmi Roth USA, a subsidiary of Emmi Group, is a leading provider of specialty and artisan cheeses and premium fresh dairy products. Our expansive portfolio includes award-winning cheeses from Switzerland, Europe, and the United States, each crafted with pride from the freshest local milk. Key cheese brands include Kaltbach cave-aged, Grand Cru® and Buttermilk Blue®. Our specialty dairy products include Swiss Premium Yogurt and Caffè Latte, Emmi’s chilled coffee drink crafted with fresh roasted coffee and the finest milk. Tradition and innovation balance perfectly to deliver distinctive offerings of the highest quality to the retail and food service trades.

Dr. Kelly Simms & Chef Ed O'Brien

 

About the doctor:

Dr. Kelly Simms is an expert in natural health. Her areas of emphasis are hormonal balancing, gastrointestinal health, and cardiometabolic concerns. She takes a holistic approach to healthcare and emphasizes nutrition, herbal medicines, and lifestyle modification to address common health concerns.  She trained at Southwest College of Naturopathic medicine where she earned her four year Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and went on to complete an integrative family medicine residency, training with top naturopathic and medical doctors in the country. She completed her undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering, graduating magna cum laude. She currently has a private Chicago practice in Lincoln Park at Balance Health and Wellness. To learn more about her practice, please visit www.kellysimmsnd.com.

About the chef:

Ed O’Brien has worked on both coasts, on the west coast at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel and in NYC at The Institute of Culinary Education.  Returning to his home town of Chicago a few years ago, Ed embarked on his most exciting adventure to date.  Ed opened Bountiful Eatery, a totally fresh, healthy and completely gluten free restaurant in Lakeview.  Its modern décor meshes with its worldly cuisine, with recipes and foods Ed has picked up from his travels around the world. 

With a focus on nutrition and health, the menu ranges from quinoa and kale to protein elements like bison and fresh caught salmon.  Customers love our wonderful vegan creations like curry, Latin, pesto or spicy portabella bowls.  Bountiful Eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and delivers throughout Chicago for individual orders or catering events. 

Bountiful Eatery is at 3312 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657   Phone:  773-687-9811 www.bountifuleatery.com

Eoin O'Donnell

About the Sommelier:

Eoin O'Donnell is a skilled sommelier with tremendous amount of years in the food and wine industry working his way through many high end properties.  He became a Sommelier in 2004. 

We are lucky to have him on this evening to share his knowledge of the 6 delicious wines and cheese he has chosen from around the world.

Executive Chef Alfonso Andrade

About the restaurant:

Chef/Owner Joe Doppes opened Bistrot Margot in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood in 1999. Named after Joe's eldest daughter, the restaurant's goal is to take diners back to the neighborhoods of turn-of-the-century Paris, where unpretentious service and affordable bistro fare go hand in hand. The restaurant has received rave reviews, including a 3-star rating from Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune. 

Doppes graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1983, and promptly began work at some of America's greatest restaurants, including Le Pavillion in Poughkeepsie, New York; Le Chardonnay in Los Angeles, and Le Cygne in New York City. He moved to Chicago in 1987, working with renowned chef Jean Banchet at the Mobil 5-star Le Francais.

Executive Chef Alfonso Andrade

Alfonso has been working the stoves at Bistrot Margot since 2000. He learned by working side-by-side with Chef Joe Doppes. Today, he creates fresh and interesting dishes while upholding the tenets of classic French cuisine.

Executive Chef Baltazar Chavez

About the restaurant:

Contemporary Italian cuisine comes to Lincoln Square at DueLire Vino & Cucina. Opened in 2010 by Naples native Massimo Di Voulo, this intimate neighborhood restaurant strives to produce high quality Italian food focusing on homemade fresh pastas and an innovative approach to Italian cuisine.  Its ever-changing menus highlight authentic Italian recipes made with seasonal and local ingredients aiming to produce fresh, simple flavors with every dish. Consistently winning accolades since its opening, DueLire has been nominated as one of the “Best New Restaurants” from Chicago Magazine, received yearly Michelin Guide and Zagat Recommendations and was recently featured on ABC’s Hungry Hound for its homemade gnocchi.

About the chef:

Executive Chef Baltazar Chavez began his entrance into the culinary world working in numerous kitchens for the Lettuce Entertain You group which exposed him to a variety of world cuisines and cooking methods. Under the guidance of Executive Chef Corky O’Connor at Gioco Restaurant, Chef Chaves honed his culinary training and began to specialize in Italian cuisine, spending over 10 years in their kitchen. Always striving to learn more about ingredients and authentic preparations, Chef Chavez was drawn to Italian cuisine because of its unique ability to produce high quality modern foods through simplistic and traditional methods. Chef Chavez began his work with DueLire in 2010 bringing his hard work ethic, persistence and dedication to the kitchen. He strives to integrate the freshest of products into every menu highlighting the best modern Italian cuisine can provide. 

Executive Chef Brett Neubauer

 

About the restaurant:

Howells & Hood Blurb: An exceptional Michigan Avenue restaurant in a Chicago landmark

Nestled at the base of Chicago's legendary Tribune Tower, this stunning restaurant is a vibrant addition to one of Chicago's most beloved and recognizable skyscrapers. Incorporating signature Tribune elements into our design, Howells & Hood pays homage to John Howells & Raymond Hood, architects of the Neo-Gothic landmark. With a unique and refined culinary program, largest draft beer selection in Chicago, and impressive staff, Howells & Hood is a magnificent complement to Michigan Avenue. 

About the chef:

Executive Chef Brett Neubauer - a modern-American restaurant and home of Chicago’s largest craft beer selection, announces newly appointed Executive Chef, Brett Neubauer. Neubauer boasts over 14 years of experience in the culinary industry, working as the Executive Sous Chef alongside former Howells & Hood Executive Chef Scott Walton. Neubauer is eager to continue Walton’s legacy, while incorporating his own style and technique throughout the restaurant’s renowned contemporary American cuisine.

“We are thrilled to announce Brett as Executive Chef of Howells & Hood and feel confident that his passion for the industry and dynamic personality will continue to raise awareness for the culinary program at the restaurant,” says Co-Owner Chris Bisaillon.

While attending Kendall College, Neubauer secured an internship at Chef Shawn McClain’s Spring restaurant, a James Beard nominee for “Best New Restaurant” in 2001. Upon graduating in 2002, he began his professional career at Bin 36 and Prairie Grass Café. Soon after, he was introduced to Walton at Markethouse, where the duo shared the same outlook on culinary and management styles and ultimately teamed up in opening Howells & Hood in March 2013. 

Executive Chef Christian Fantoni

About the Restaurant:

A classic Chicago Steakhouse located right off the Magnificent Mile, Phil Stefani's 437 Rush serves a menu of artistic and mouth-watering steak and seafood dishes in addition to fabulous risottos and pastas created by executive chef Christian Fantoni. The restaurant also features a unique cocktail menu that includes a selection of martinis, champagne, wine and beers.

About the Chef:

Chef Christian Fantoni developed a passion for Northern Italian cuisine at an early age. As the son of the cook for an Italian prince in Bergamo, Italy, Chef Fantoni learned the importance of creating a complete dining experience in addition to preparing mouthwatering food. After graduating culinary school in Italy and moving to New York City in 1994, Chef Fantoni worked in esteemed kitchens such as Le Bernadin, Le Cirque and Fiamma Osteria. After moving to Chicago in 2008, Chef Fantoni served as executive chef for Bice Restaurant. Chef Fantoni applies his passion for the fresh, seasonal flavors of his country’s cuisine to Filini in Chicago.

Executive Chef Federico Comacchio

About the restaurant:

Coco Pazzo: Freshness is at the core of the Coco Pazzo menu. From tiny wild ramps, pea tendril, and lamb in the spring to wild boar, house-made duck prosciutto, and wild-caught salmon in the fall –we will always offer you the best of the season. All breads at Coco Pazzo are baked in house and the pastas are handmade fresh every day. In addition, every stock, sauce, pastry, and dessert is prepared by the passionate and creative Coco Pazzo staff.

About the Chef:

Chef Federico Comacchio is on a mission to bring true Italian food to the American dining experience. Born in Lodi, Italy, Federico started cooking when he was in his early teens and his mom was his inspiration. Sundays were the day that she would get up very early and begin to prepare a family feast. Food was the focus of the day and he recalls it all with great fondness 

Federico is passionate about the clean, clear flavors of Tuscany. He believes that every dish should simply express the fresh ingredients from which it is prepared and he demonstrates this in both his traditional and contemporary creations at Coco Pazzo.

Federico’s early hands-on culinary education took him through Italy including Genoa and Milan where he worked for two Michelin Star restaurants. He worked with the Bice organization in Paris and Puerto Rico and returned to Italy. His dream of coming to the states brought him to Chicago in 2001where he became executive chef at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush.

Federico’s heritage and vast culinary experience make him a real Italian ambassador at Coco Pazzo. His commitment to his culinary craft and his passion for perfection can be seen in every dish at Coco Pazzo.

Executive Chef Giuseppe Scurato

About the chef:

Executive Chef/Partner Giuseppe Scurato

As a child growing up in Sicily, Chef Giuseppe Scurato helped his grandfather run a produce stand at the city market in Palermo, where being surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables sparked his interest early in pursuing a culinary career. Shortly thereafter, Chef Scurato began working at a restaurant at a young age where he learned old school Italian cooking techniques that he still uses at his restaurant today.

After graduating Istituto Alberghiero in Palermo with a degree in culinary arts, Chef Scurato moved to America where he obtained a position at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco, and soon after became Sous Chef of the popular restaurant. Puck brought Chef Scurato to Chicago in 1995 to open Spago Chicago, where Scurato was appointed Chef de Cuisine. In 1999, he joined the team at famed Chicago restaurant, MK, where he established relationships with many local farmers, many of which he still works with today.

Wanting to expand his culinary knowledge even more, Chef Scurato began working with Puck again in 2002 in his expansive catering operation. Ready to return to the restaurant scene in 2003, Scurato met the owners of the Boka Group and went on to assist in both the opening of Boka Restaurant and Landmark Grill. Following that, he helped open Topaz Café in Burr Ridge.

In 2009, Chef Scurato opened Ceres’ Table, an Italian-inspired neighborhood restaurant, in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood where he was awarded with four consecutive Bib Gourmand honors from the Michelin Guide and countless other accolades including Chicago Magazine’s Best New Restaurant.

In 2014, Chef Scurato joined forces with his friend of more than 17 years, Caryn Struif to reopen Ceres’ Table in the bustling East Lakeview neighborhood with a fresh menu and atmosphere fit for its new home on Broadway St. Chef Scurato and Struif often talked about opening a restaurant together, and are thrilled that the timing finally worked out for Ceres’ Table.

About the restaurant:

In May 2014, Ceres’ Table opened in Chicago’s bustling East Lakeview neighborhood. Chef Giuseppe Scurato, who introduced Ceres’ Table in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood in 2009, joined forces with All Day Hospitality’s Caryn Struif, a Chicago restaurant veteran, to expand upon the successful concept that was previously named a “Best New Restaurant” in Chicago magazine and earned four consecutive Bib Gourmand awards from the esteemed Michelin Guide. The restaurant features regional, Italian-inspired seasonal plates that pay homage to Chef Scurato’s Sicilian heritage with respect to the technique, process, and history of his native cuisine. A reflection of the Italian lifestyle, Chef Scurato has forged meaningful connections with Midwestern farmers in the spirit of cooking with seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients. In the new, larger space, Chef Scurato has expanded the menu to feature new offerings, including homemade pizzas cooked to perfection in a newly installed wood-burning oven that sits at the heart of the restaurant. 

Executive Chef James Giacometti

About the restaurant:

The history on the walls here at the Italian Village reflects the day-to-day life of our family, starting in 1927 when Alfredo Capitanini opened his restaurant, a restaurant that would one day be the oldest continuously operating Italian restaurant in Chicago. He opened with a simple philosophy in mind: Make good, simple food, serve it in ample portions and offer it with warm Italian courtesy.

Through years of patience and hard work, Alfredo and his wife, Ada, built the restaurant into a landmark in the heart of the Loop. In time, their children, Ave, Frank and Ray grew into the business and each made unique contributions to continue to make The Italian Village grow and prosper, pouring their love of family and Chicago into the restaurant, our customers and the future. That future came with yet another generation of Capitaninis going to work, including Frank, Jr., Gina, Lisa and Alfredo (Al). 

Again, new generations brought new ideas to the table, and The Italian Village expanded to include our more adventurous side at Vivere, high-quality meat and seafood at La Cantina, and our classic menu, ambience and service at The Village.

Throughout our 85 years in business, we’ve been about family, value and hospitality, in that order. Alfredo and Ada knew early on that if you treat everyone that walks in the door like family, the value and the hospitality would happen automatically. They instilled this in their children, their extended family and in the hundreds and hundreds of Italian Village employees who have played crucial parts in our continued success.

About the chef - James Giacometti

Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Graduate at the top of his class, traveled to Sorrento, Italy to cook and study his passion for classic Neapolitan Italian cuisine. During his stay in Sorrento he worked at Mami Camilla, a bed and breakfast that offered cooking classes under well-known Italian chef Biagio Longo. He also worked at Michelin starred restaurant called “Il Buco” in the heart of Sorrento. After his stay in Sorrento returned to Chicago to accept a job as sous chef on Norwegian Cruise Lines “Pride of America” that circled the Hawian islands. After the stay in Hawaii returned to the Midwest and found a Sous Chef position Biaggi’s Risorante Italiano located in the northwest suburbs or Chicago. After his stay Biaggis a once in a lifetime opportunity opened up at “Vivere” located at the street level of “The Italian Village”. Starting as sous chef then being promoted to executive chef, James and his “Vivere” team have been refreshing and changing the menu to a different style the village has never seen.

Executive Chef John Coletta

About the chef and restaurant:

John Coletta, a first generation Italian-American, is a chef, restaurateur, author and respected veteran in the Chicago and International culinary communities. As Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, John preserves the authenticity of regional Italian cuisine, thru honed culinary techniques and authentic Italian ingredients.

The son of Italian immigrants  and former owners of a neighborhood restaurant, John acquired a deep respect for food and an appreciation for La Vera Cucina Italiana at a very young age. John’s summers spent in central and southern Italy also cultivated his interest in Italian gastronomy and culture. While spending time in Italia, the concept that meals were the most important part of the day made it obvious to John what his career path would be, “It was a natural evolution for me to become a chef,” he recalls.

With a hunger to learn from European thoroughbred culinary masters, John set off with his degree in hotel and restaurant management from New York City Technical College.  From the legendary St. Regis Hotel and Waldorf Astoria Hotel, to the Four Seasons Restaurant and Le Coup de Fusil, John earned his stripes as an apprentice for revered chefs such as Arno Schmidt, Seppi Renggli, Yannick Cam and Andre Rene. After his seven year rotation among these world-renowned hotel and restaurant kitchens, John went on to train under Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monte Carlo, Joel Rubuchon in Paris and Three-Star Michelin chefs Pierre Wynants and Pierre Romeyer in Brussles, Belgium. 

With an international view of the culinary scene under his belt, it was no surprise that John’s next step was to command a kitchen of his own. As Executive Chef at Nikolai’s Roof of the Hilton Atlanta, John earned a Four Star Award from Mobil. John next reigned over an army of over 450 cooks in ten different restaurants at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Soon after, he was proclaimed one of the four “big guns” of Asian hotel cuisine by the Sydney Morning Herald, while serving at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. Through this worldly exposure, John was able to acquire his share of accolades.

John’s reach as a chef broadened when he became a culinary Olympian. An individual gold medalist in the 1984 Culinary Olympics, he went on to snare another gold medal in Frankfurt, Germany in 1992 as part of the Culinary Olympic Team U.S.A.  As a member of this team, he developed his now deep-rooted sense of discipline as a chef and earned the title of one of America’s Rising Star Chefs by PBS television.

His expertise on the international stage earned him the opportunity of advising the 1994 U.S.A. Team at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg, which earned first place among competitors from around the globe. At the 1997 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Chef Coletta shared the billing with the likes of Julia Child and Paul Bocuse as part of the Visiting Masters From the World of Food Program.

While he is a native New Yorker, John’s migration to The City of Broad Shoulders offered him the chance to join the ranks of Chicago’s top chefs. Opening Entre Nous and Primavera at the Fairmont Hotel and the acclaimed Caliterra restaurant in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood as Executive Chef, paved the way for his most promising endeavor.

 In 2004, John embarked on a partnership with co-founders Steve Lombardo and Larry Shane to bring his vision of a classic, urban-Italian ristorante to life. John infused Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar’s seasonally driven menu with authentic regional preparations of rustic Italian recipes – many of which date back 200 years. His preparations of house-cured and aged Salumi, such as Soppressata, Salamette Pancetta and Duck Prosciutto, along with cheeses made daily in-house, are a nod to John’s love and respect for La Vera Cucina Italiana. In short, with the creation of Quartino’s menu, John stayed true to the same culinary philosophy that he has held since the beginning of his career:  Prepare Italian food, with Italian passion.

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar opened its doors in December of 2005, and is now entering its eighth year of showcasing the flavors and traditions of Italia’s most vibrant regions to Chicago diners. Quartino is the recipient of the coveted Ospitalita Italiana, which is awarded by the Italian government and recognizes restaurants which uphold the traditions of Italian culture. Quartino has been featured in local, national and international publications including; The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Today's Chicago Woman, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Food Arts, Plate Magazine, National Culinary Review, USA Today Travel, Il Giornale di Vicenza, Italia a Tavola and more....

In 2009, Coletta authored and published 250 True Italian Pasta Dishes, a cookbook dedicated to his passion for La Vera Cucina Italiana. A passion for authentic Italian products has lead Coletta to be the national spokesperson for Carmelina Pomodori e Polselli Farina, a true expression of Alimentare Italiane.

Chef Coletta saw and continues to visualize Quartino as the ideal vehicle for synthesizing the insights derived from his childhood immersion in Italian cooking and his classical training. Coletta strives daily to continue achieving his goal to, "Honor humble authentic Italian dishes and present them as they are meant to be experienced."

About Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar:

As an ambassador for Italian Gastronomy in Chicago, Executive Chef John Coletta offers diners an authentic, urban Italian food and wine experience. Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar features a menu of regional Italian specialties, many made in-house with the highest respect for Italian culinary tradition. The menu includes a wide range of items including Artisanal Salumi, Pizza, Pasta in Casa (house-made) and Seafood. Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar is located at 626 North State Street in Chicago. Quartino is open Sunday-Friday: 11:30 a.m. - 2 a.m., and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 3 a.m. Reservations may be made by calling (312)-698-5000. For more information, visit www.QuartinoChicago.com. Follow Quartino on Facebook, and @QuartinoChicago on Twitter.

Executive Chef Joshua Downing

About the restaurant:

The history on the walls here at the Italian Village reflects the day-to-day life of our family, starting in 1927 when Alfredo Capitanini opened his restaurant, a restaurant that would one day be the oldest continuously operating Italian restaurant in Chicago. He opened with a simple philosophy in mind: Make good, simple food, serve it in ample portions and offer it with warm Italian courtesy.

Through years of patience and hard work, Alfredo and his wife, Ada, built the restaurant into a landmark in the heart of the Loop. In time, their children, Ave, Frank and Ray grew into the business and each made unique contributions to continue to make The Italian Village grow and prosper, pouring their love of family and Chicago into the restaurant, our customers and the future. That future came with yet another generation of Capitaninis going to work, including Frank, Jr., Gina, Lisa and Alfredo (Al). 

Again, new generations brought new ideas to the table, and The Italian Village expanded to include our more adventurous side at Vivere, high-quality meat and seafood at La Cantina, and our classic menu, ambience and service at The Village.

Throughout our 85 years in business, we’ve been about family, value and hospitality, in that order. Alfredo and Ada knew early on that if you treat everyone that walks in the door like family, the value and the hospitality would happen automatically. They instilled this in their children, their extended family and in the hundreds and hundreds of Italian Village employees who have played crucial parts in our continued success.

 

About the Chef:

Chef Joshua has over 12 years of Chef experience and began his career at La Giarra Restaurant in St. Charles Illinois. He has held positions as Pantry and Line Cook, Banquet Chef, Pastry Chef, Sous Chef and Executive Chef. Joshua was last at Geneva Ale House as Executive Chef before taking over at La Cantina Chophouse inside the Italian Village complex.

His cooking philosophy consists of fresh seasonal ingredients. Summertime is great with fresh produce harvested from our rooftop garden at the restaurant including Beefsteak tomatoes, Arugula and many fresh herbs, which we feature on our menus. With autumn approaching Chef Joshua enjoys utilizing mushrooms and slow roasting stews like Ossobuco.

Chef Joshua is a firm believer of using the best and freshest ingredients available with an eye on responsible and sustainable harvesting.

Executive Chef Lupe Navejas

About the restaurant:

El Mariachi Hospitality Group, proud part of the East Lakeview community since 1996 with the opening of the original El Mariachi Restaurant on Broadway, presents Chicago's first Mexican steakhouse- Revolucion Steakhouse: A Mexican twist on the classic steakhouse.

As the name suggests, this revolutionary effort is headed by Executive Chef Lupe Navejas, formerly of Smith & Wollensky and Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse. Chef Lupe brings extraordinary passion & flair to your table with offerings such as Calamari Frito served with Tomato-Chipotle sauce as well as the Revolucion Guacamole Tradicional; which he will be personally demonstrating for Treasure Island guests.

Chef Lupe will also reflect his roots from Guadalajara through his Beef Tenderloin Tips Alambres special. A traditional dish from Jalisco that showcases his skill in both savory & spicy layers of flavor profiles- all finished with our handmade tortillas prepared every morning.

For seafood lovers, Camarones al Ajillo is a sure-fire hit. Served over Garlic-Guajillo butter alongside caramelized plantains, this dish encompasses the entire taste bud spectrum from savory to sweet- all in one mouthful!

This trailblazing effort has been well-received from East Lakeview to River North. With Chicago's rich history in steakhouses born out of the South Side Stockyards, Revolucion Steakhouse is driven to break boundaries and, as always, exceed guest expectations.

Buen Provecho!

 

About the chef:

Executive Chef Lupe Navejas

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Chef Lupe Navejas' began his culinary career under the tutelage of renowned Chef David di Gregorio at Maggiano's Little Italy in 1995. Over the next 16 years, through sheer determination and an undeniable work ethic, he developed a skill set that garnered respect throughout the close-knit Chicago hospitality industry. His ability to master systems integration and recipe guidelines were a testament to his drive & self-discipline.

Looking to expand his horizons, Lupe took on his first leadership role as Executive Sous Chef at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse under Paul Katz. Working with prime aged beef and creating innovative specials taught him the simplicity of Italian food in a high-paced restaurant, gaining notoriety of many of the Spanish-speaking Chicago Cubs players. Over the course of the next 3 years, he gained a strong sense of identity in his cooking style and approach; often times utilizing locally farmed ingredients and developing relationships with purveyors in order to maximize potential.

Continuing to grow his skill set, he honed his energy towards dry aging beef at Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse, becoming a key member of the culinary team in one of the largest steakhouse chains in the United States. "Controlled Chaos" is the mantra at the New York based establishment, often serving literally hundreds of steaks every weekend to perfection.

Opportunity knocked once again in the form of opening Chicago's first Mexican steakhouse- Revolucion, teaming with the Mariachi Hospitality Group and the Estrada Family. With a menu showcasing his ingenuity through an array of inspiring sauces and innovative dishes, he is breaking down barriers and raising the image of Mexican cuisine in the East Lakeview community.

Most recently, Chef Lupe has been featured on the Telemundo Network as well as conducting cooking presentations at Treasure Island and local street fairs. If you smell a well-prepared steak with a Mexican twist, he's most likely not far behind. Revolucion Steakhouse, and its philosophy of exceeding guests' expectations, begins in the kitchen with him at the helm setting a trailblazing path towards the future. 

Executive Chefs Phil Manolis & Mariela Bolanos

About the restaurant:

Each McCormick & Schmick's restaurant is uniquely designed to create an inviting, original and relaxed atmosphere, where guests can enjoy the highest quality dining experience. With five Chicago land locations McCormick & Schmick’s is the destination for the best Seafood & Steaks – from downtown to suburban centers.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant’s menu is printed twice daily, featuring the signature “Fresh List” highlighting an impressive number of fresh seafood varieties, in addition to aged steaks, poultry, entrée salads and pasta. McCormick & Schmick's commitment to local freshness is apparent in the seasonally inspired dishes and regionally inspired preparations offered. 

 

About the Chefs:

Executive Chef Phil Manolis

Phil Manolis graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, after receiving the McIllheny Scholarship and completing his externship at La Tour in the Park Hyatt. After graduating in 1990, Phil took a position with James On Diamond Lake in Mundelein, where he opened the new restaurant as a line cook and quickly rose to become the Sous Chef.  This was where he developed a passion for Italian cooking.

Phil most recently worked as an Executive Chef Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Carlson Restaurants and Portillo’s Restaurant Group. We are excited to now have him on board at McCormick & Schmick’s.

Executive Chef Mariela Bolanos

McCormick & Schmick’s welcomes Chef Mariela Bolaños, previously the Executive Chef at Viand. After graduating from the Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago in 2006, Mariela landed her first professional kitchen job under Chef Steve Chiappetti where she further learned to develop her cooking abilities. She discovered a deep passion for cooking at a young age throughout her years of travel to Mexico with her family being able to see the rich culture and native ingredients that every dish has to offer. 

Executive Sous Chef Alex Shalev

About the Restaurant:

Nestled under “The Bean” in Millennium Park and along Michigan Avenue you’ll find Park Grill, an American Bistro serving cuisine with Chicago flair, breathtaking views, and unique happenings throughout the year. 

 

In the warm months our Plaza opens, where diners can enjoy live music and the open air in this al fresco eatery.  During winter the Millennium Park ice rink comes to life in front of Park Grill, which allows guests to watch skaters while enjoying their meal. 

 

Please welcome Park Grill Executive Sous Chef Alex Shalev.  With his commitment to creating seasonal, fresh, and high quality dishes, he sets the table for remarkable experiences in the heart of the city.

 

Let Park Grill host your next gathering in the heart of the city.  We have distinctive accommodations for groups as intimate as 10 or as large as 300.  There’s a room with a view and an experience waiting for everyone at Park Grill.

James Rohrbacher

About the Chef:

James is a self-taught vegan chef, certified personal trainer and USPTA tennis teaching professional.  “I wanted to meld exercise and cooking somehow, so that is the concept behind my new business ‘J C R’.” 

James worked for 13 years as a private chef for a small company whose owner is vegan.  “That experience was invaluable because it allowed me to experiment with high quality, seasonal ingredients, doing some pretty crazy molecular gastronomy-type things and in general, just using my clients as guinea pigs.  They loved it!  And in the mean time, I was able to learn all things vegan, including baking (which can be challenging) and cheese making.”

James consulted on a yet-to-be-published nutritarian gourmet cookbook by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  “I doubt the book will ever be published, but I learned a great deal about writing recipes, how to photograph food and cooking techniques using little or no fat, sugar and salt.  I classify myself as a nutritarian and try to eat that way to the best of my ability.”

James recently staged at Alinea and tried out for the reality TV show “Hell’s Kitchen”.

“I hate the ‘chef’ culture that is out there right now.  Those two experiences reinforced my opinion that cooking should be an enjoyable art form, not a competition or fear-based rapid-fire drill…..and please call me James, not ‘chef’”.

You can visit a photo gallery of James’ food at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.101450643259280.1730.100001830336693&type=3&l=3beaf2ce45

About his Business:

The concept behind J C R is to bring nutritious cooking and fitness instruction to your home.  Whether you want to lose weight, begin or resume a fitness program, learn how to cook healthy, tasty food or all three of these things, J C R will design an in-home program for you and teach you how food and fitness together make living healthy easy! 

For more information call James at 773.477.9217 or visit www.JCR.name

Jess Zimmerman

About the company:

At Healthier Tomorrows, we believe that food can truly be powerful medicine, and we embrace a functional medicine approach.  We work with clients to improve their overall well-being by looking at the root cause of disease and discomfort, not only treating the symptoms.  We take great pride in spending time with our clients, learning their stories and completing a comprehensive process to tailor treatment directly to each individual’s needs.

We are a group nutrition practice located in Chicago, Illinois. We believe in assisting each individual that comes into our offices in reaching their health and wellness goals, and we provide comprehensive, collaborative and individualized care. We specialize in nutrition therapy for eating disorder and addiction recovery, as well as weight management, food allergies and sensitivities, improved fertility, and enhanced energy, vitality and mood.

Chef bio:

Jess Zimmerman, RD, LDN is a registered and licensed dietitian specializing in weight management, food sensitivities, digestive issues, and increased overall health and well-being. She utilizes functional nutrition, which incorporates a food-as-medicine approach, addressing the whole person rather than isolated symptoms. Jess is passionate about providing her clients with the education and motivation to enhance their current health status and feel their best.

Jon Novack, Mindy Segal and Erick Williams

About Fortune Fish Company:

Fortune Fish Company works with fishermen from every coast to bring the highest quality fresh fish, shellfish and gourmet items to the Midwest United States.  The fish is flown in whole and processed at their Bensenville facility to be delivered to the finest restaurants and high-end retail stores.  As a leader in the seafood industry, Fortune Fish believes it is the company’s responsibility to provide, promote and market sustainable seafood products from wild fisheries and aquaculture.  Their marketing team regularly travels to do education and cooking demonstrations to inspire consumers and build awareness of sustainable seafood.

About Jon Novack:

Jon Novak is currently a Senior Sales Associate for Fortune Fish & Gourmet in Bensenville, Illinois.  He spends most of the day selling seafood and gourmet foods to the finest chefs in Chicago and the Midwest.  They look to Jon for his expertise, experience and knowledge of proper product use, seasonality and sustainability.  Novak brought to Fortune over 10 years of experience in the seafood business and an extensive kitchen background as a Chef in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants including; Spiaggia, Rhapsody, MK and the Ritz Carlton Hotel.  He received his Culinary Arts degree in Portland Oregon from the Western Culinary Institute and enjoys traveling around the world visiting the fishermen, farmers and producers of the food products he specializes in.

 

About HotChocolate:

Welcome to Mindy’s Hot Chocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar. While we know that you have many dining choices, we wholly commit ourselves to exceed your expectations in all areas of your dining experience.

From the moment you walk through the front door, it is our goal to provide you with an atmosphere that is comfortable and relaxed with exemplary service and an evolving array of high-quality, seasonal and locally-sourced food, drink and pastry.

We constantly search for new and exciting purveyors, ingredients and presentations. Through our network of artisan farmers and friends, we are able to connect the producer to the consumer and provide a uniquely enjoyable dining adventure.

Whether it is a casual lunch, a leisurely weekend brunch, a delightful dinner or a late night dessert rendezvous, HotChocolate continues to be one of Chicago’s most unique dining destinations.

About Mindy Segal:

Mindy Segal specializes in contemporary American cuisine, placing a modern twist on traditional classics. Segal was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in the Country in 2012. Her Chicago restaurant, HotChocolate is the culmination of 25+ years of dedication to her craft. Chef Segal has appeared on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Food Network and in Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times.

 

About MK: 

About Erick Williams:

Erick Williams, Executive Chef Erick Williams joined the opening team at mk in 1998 and took over leadership of the kitchen in the fall of 2008.  Under his direction, the menu at mk has retained its farm-to-plate seasonal approach and has continued to receive accolades from local and national press.  He is inspired every week at the farmer’s markets in Chicago and has formed lasting relationships with mk’s farming partners, among them the crews at Werp Farms, Nichols Farm and Spence Farms.  Erick spends much of his time teaching and training at-risk youth and is a mentor to many; he believes in the value of education through cooking and strives to be an example for those in his community.  Erick has worked with youth from Disney II Magnet School, Perspectives Charter School, adults from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and fundraises for Sweet Water Foundation which helps bring urban gardening and aquaponics to Chicago and Milwaukee area schools.  Erick sums up his feelings for cooking succinctly: “It was once said to me by my father that the search for equality is found through common ground and sharing a meal is a universal expression of respect and dignity.”

Justin Vrany

About the chef and restaurant:

My name is Justin Vrany and I am the owner of a new restaurant called Sandwich Me In, located at 3037 N. Clark St. between Halsted and Wellington.  Ever since I was a young child I have wanted to be a Chef and Restaurateur. Now that I have my own child I am making decisions that will help our communities grow toward a sustainable future.

In the past 15 years; working in establishments such as, Hot Chocolate, Ritz Carlton, Nick’s Fish Market, and Cantigny Club House I have developed a keen knowledge of how food should taste and how products should be handled. I have come to the conclusion that we have no other choice than to start teaching our fellow friends, families, and neighbors on what our current food system, energy system, and waste system is doing to our health and environment.  Therefore I have developed a restaurant that is environmentally sound and the food is delicious.

All of our waste is composted or recycled and in the 16 months we have been opened we have 8 gallons of garbage going to the dump. Throughout the seasons our compost is given to Collective Resource, a company that removes all our natural waste and uses the wind and row composting method to turn our waste back into soil. Our electrical energy is completely powered by wind and all of our used oil is recycled in bio-diesel engines. All of the furniture and equipment in the restaurant is either used or refurbished. And, in a typical 1400sqft build-out 2 dumpsters of garbage go to the dump, we used only a ¼ dumpster.

All of our delicious food is made in house from scratch and sourced from local farms such as Gunthorp farms, Quarter Circle Seven Ranch, and Local Folks farm. We have a dynamite pulled pork sandwich that is smoked for 13 hours and lathered in our homemade BBQ and placed on a fresh baked black strap molasses wheat roll. Another delight is our Vegan black bean and brown rice burger with whole grain mustard. And don’t forget all of our drinks are made in house too.

We estimate that we have lowered our carbon foot print by about 90% of what a typical quick service restaurant would use in one day and we are not going to stop until we are at 100%.

Please join us from 11am-9pm daily and check out our web-site at www.sandwichmeinchicago.com. Until we meet have a joyous life and always remember to respect our Mother Earth.

Kevin Kveton

About the Company:

Sterling Silver® Premium Beef consists of only the top 12% of all grain-fed beef cattle. Rich in marbling and aged to perfection, our premium beef is carefully sourced from the North American Great Plains and hand-selected for optimal quality. The results are unsurpassed cuts of beef that provide exceptional flavor, tenderness and juiciness . . . as well as unforgettable dining experiences.

Sterling Silver® Premium Beef is aged for a minimum of 21 days, which maximizes tenderness and enhances the richness of the flavor. 

Sterling Silver® Beef is carefully sourced from the North American Great Plains region. 

Steaks are certified premium quality by exceeding the exceptionally high criteria for maturing, marbling, color, texture, firmness and absence of defects.

As part of Cargill, you can rely on our world-class reputation for delivering consistent, premium quality products every time. Sterling Silver® Premium Meats guarantee each and every product to be tender, juicy and flavorful or your money back.

Lisa Thompson

About the restaurant:

Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe is an artisan bakery that partners with local farms to create pastries that feature seasonal ingredients. More importantly, we are a nonprofit organization that provides paid transitional employment to homeless and at-risk youth.  Visiting our cafe or using our catering services creates critical job opportunities for Chicago's youth.

 

About the Chef:

Lisa Thompson is the owner and founder of Blue Sky Bakery.  She is a self-taught cook that believes a little butter makes everything better, and that food tastes best when it is shared.

Lori Byars

About the Confectionary:

Opened in September 2012, Cheshire Cat Confectionary specializes in Adventurous and Wonderful Custom Desserts, featuring fresh made, hand decorated cookies for nationwide delivery.  CCC belongs to a small group of independent bakers who believe in doing one thing and doing it very well.  By concentrating on quality instead of quantity, CCC consistently turns out better looking and tasting products with better prices and service.  What places CCC at the front of this group, is the choice to offer unique and custom design options that customers won’t find anywhere else.

 

About the owner

Lori Byars – Owner and Mad Baker - One of Lori’s earliest gifts was a kitchen set in which she made pretend meals for hours on end.  Her love of playing pretend drew her to the drama club in high school and after graduating from college with a degree in theatre, she spent sixteen years on the road as a Stage Manager with Broadway National Tours including: The Lion King, Jersey Boys, and Mary Poppins.  Unlike many in this business, her experience comes solely from doing what she loves and Cheshire Cat Confectionary the expression of her creative vision and passion.

Marc J. Sievers

Marc J. Sievers is a life-style and entertaining expert, elevated home cook, and author of the renowned Entertaining with Love cookbook, and winner of Bobby's Dinner Battle: Chicago on Food Network.  As co-founder and Creative Director at Marc-Ryan & Co., Marc is constantly hard at work developing new, useful, and inspired cooking and entertaining content for his readers, viewers, and clientele.

Mark Palicki

About the company

Fortune Fish Company works with fishermen from every coast to bring the highest quality fresh fish, shellfish and gourmet items to the Midwest United States. The fish is flown in whole and processed at their Bensenville facility to be delivered to the finest restaurants and high-end retail stores. As a leader in the seafood industry, Fortune Fish believes it is the company’s responsibility to provide, promote and market sustainable seafood products from wild fisheries and aquaculture. Their marketing team regularly travels to do education and cooking demonstrations to inspire consumers and
build awareness of sustainable seafood.

About the Chef

Mark Palicki is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Chef for the
Fortune Fish Company in Bensenville, Illinois. He is directly in charge of all marketing for the company which includes managing Fortune’s sustainability program, providing seafood and sustainability training for their customers and local culinary schools. Palicki brought to Fortune over 10 years of restaurant experience including, General Manager, Seafood Buyer and Chef at several well known establishments. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from The University
of Houston in Houston, Texas and an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

TBD

The history on the walls here at the Italian Village reflects the day-to-day life of our family, starting in 1927 when Alfredo Capitanini opened his restaurant, a restaurant that would one day be the oldest continuously operating Italian restaurant in Chicago. He opened with a simple philosophy in mind: Make good, simple food, serve it in ample portions and offer it with warm Italian courtesy.

Through years of patience and hard work, Alfredo and his wife, Ada, built the restaurant into a landmark in the heart of the Loop. In time, their children, Ave, Frank and Ray grew into the business and each made unique contributions to continue to make The Italian Village grow and prosper, pouring their love of family and Chicago into the restaurant, our customers and the future. That future came with yet another generation of Capitaninis going to work, including Frank, Jr., Gina, Lisa and Alfredo (Al) 

Again, new generations brought new ideas to the table, and The Italian Village expanded to include our more adventurous side at Vivere, high-quality meat and seafood at La Cantina, and our classic menu, ambience and service at The Village.

Throughout our 85 years in business, we’ve been about family, value and hospitality, in that order. Alfredo and Ada knew early on that if you treat everyone that walks in the door like family, the value and the hospitality would happen automatically. They instilled this in their children, their extended family and in the hundreds and hundreds of Italian Village employees who have played crucial parts in our continued success.

Vincent Geraci

About the Restaurant:

Established in 2003, Caffe Gelato strives to be as heavenly as the original gelato bars in Italy.  In order to keep our gelato authentic and unique, we import all of our spices, chocolates, and nuts directly from Italy. Not to mention, our gelato is always made fresh daily to insure the highest quality!  And, as proud as we are about our gelato, we are just as proud of our freshly brewed coffees, classic Italian pastries, and imported snacks.  In addition, Caffe Gelato now offers a variety of unique catering services that will enhance the sweetness of any event! So stop in for an espresso by the fire or book us for your next event.

About the Chef:

Vincent Geraci, a Chicago native, was born into a Sicilian heritage filled with culinary traditions and values dated long before his time. Early on, Vincent was exposed to the unique tastes and aromas of his family’s culture.  From learning how to make breads and pasta from scratch, to butchering meat and churning gelato, Vincent’s family nurtured and inspired a passion of his own.

Wanting to expand his skill set and develop further professionally as a chef, Vince immersed himself into true Italian culture, by travelling to Sicily. While there he worked side-by-side with his “Paesani” (fellow townsmen) to master his skills and ultimately shaping who he is and the niche he has. 

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