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Chicago Gourmet - bio: Phil Manolis
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Phil Manolis

Bacardi At The Park

Phil Manolis grew up in the suburbs of Chicago where he started in the restaurant business quite young. He began working in one of his family’s multiple Swedish Manor Smorgasbord and Nordic Steakhouse restaurants. Both Phil’s father and grandfather were chefs.   Their love of cooking, knowledge and experience in the restaurant business inspired Phil to pursue a career in the industry. He went on to graduate 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 went on to become the Executive Sous Chef at the Ivanhoe Country Club, where he opened the Ivanhoe Room, the fine dining restaurant of the club. His elegant specials were what he became best known for, and many of the members started requesting that he prepare specialties just for them.  
 As the Chef for the Rusty Pelican Restaurant, he implemented the highest standards necessary to maintain a fresh sustainable seafood program, which enabled him to develop new recipes which were used throughout the company.
He was hired by Carlson Restaurants Emerging Brands Division as Executive Chef to open Timpano Italian Chophouse, which quickly became a local favorite for great steaks with an Italian flair and was chosen as Best New Restaurant in SuburbanCookCounty by the Daily Herald.
Phil was recruited by the Portillo Restaurant Group, the largest privately owned restaurant company in the Midwest, to become their Corporate Chef. He worked there for 10 years, where he created so many of the familiar favorites customers have come back for again and again. While a part of the company, he had the responsibility of menu development for Portillo’s Home Kitchen, Barnelli’s and the full service division which included Luigi’s House and Keywester.
One of the things that Phil really enjoys is being able to share his passion for cooking. When he can, he teaches cooking classes at Sur la Table in all manner of subjects. His classes are always sold out.
Phil is currently working as Executive Chef for Bacardi at the Park, a part of the Gibson’s family of restaurants.
Phil is a happily married man and has two very adorable children.
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