Executive Chef Francis Brennan is among Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ most prolific chefs, currently helming the kitchen of L2O, the three-star Michelin-rated modern seafood restaurant located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Offering some of the most exquisite seafood and shellfish in the world, Brennan’s technique and experience complements the highly regarded cuisine, which has been continually lauded by the press (including four-stars from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times) since opening in 2008.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Brennan recalls that cooking was always an important part of his life, and as the youngest of six children he frequently took to the kitchen to help prepare family meals. Developing an appreciation of hospitality from his parents, who frequently entertained, his course was set in motion throughout high school, and after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he lived in Europe for two years working for La Maison Blanche in Montpellier, France and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin, Ireland. Upon returning to the States he took a position at Charlie Trotter’s, in Chicago, before relocating to New York City to work at Restaurant Aquavit and Payard Patisserie & Bistro, then on to San Francisco’s Fifth Floor Restaurant and The Dining Room at Ritz Carlton.
In 2007 Brennan returned to Chicago and joined Lettuce Entertain You to open L2O, where he was instrumental in developing the concept and culinary philosophy from the ground up; and following his passion for baking, he implemented the acclaimed bread program. He now guides the restaurant on its continued path of exceptional cuisine and exemplary service, with dishes and ingredient usage most recently described by Chicago Magazine’s Jeff Ruby as uncomplicated compositions that “display impeccable sourcing and execution without grandstanding… familiar flavors speak for themselves… simple, but clever, like a quiet song with an irresistible hook… a gentle playfulness unites everything… and the surprises flow naturally.”