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Chicago Gourmet - bio: David Blackmon
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David Blackmon

CPS

Chef David Blackmon's first love is the passion for cooking and the excitement in the kitchen. With 18 years of food service experience, and 12 years as a professional Chef, his food testimonials are bar-none. Chef Blackmon sharpened his skills working under top chefs in some of the finest restaurants around Chicago.

David’s career started with a family owned catering company where he was quickly promoted to on-site kitchen manager while attending high school. After graduating, he worked a year for a popular cruise line out of Miami. He put the love of his art on the “back burner” to work for a well-known Chicago newspaper upon receiving his BA in Speech Communications from Chicago State University. With a need to fill a hole in his food loving heart, David left his post at the paper to lend his culinary talents to various area restaurants and catering companies over the years.

Chef Blackmon’s culinary approach has a Southwestern, Italian, Southern, and Asian flair. He tries to incorporate these flavors into several of his dishes. Having a chance to work with so many different types of foods and ingredients that the city has to offer, David enjoys Chicago’s vast cultural and culinary differences, and tries to bring them all to a happy medium in each of his dishes. Never forgetting his family’s deep roots in soul food, David does updated dishes using some of the same soulful ingredients but with a healthy twist. He refers to it as “Neo Soul Food”.

In 2004, David started his company Culinary Solutions as an umbrella to his future restaurant and personal chef endeavors. Until recent, David was the Executive Chef for Blu 47 Restaurant. Opened since fall of 2004, Blu 47 was a premiere restaurant in the Bronzeville/Hyde Park area on Chicago's South Side. Under David’s leadership, his dishes were recognized and featured in a variety of television and printed articles with high marks. In 2007, Chef David’s Blu 47 booth was highlighted at the Taste of Chicago. Although it was the first time he participated in the Taste, Blu 47 was selected one of the best booths by food critics Phil Vettel and Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune. Currently, David is working on bringing more innovative food ideas to the public and is looking forward to opening his own restaurant on the near south side of Chicago.

With the ability to feed and please the taste buds of so many people on a weekly basis, David feels that his culinary talent is truly a gift from God. To give thanks, he volunteers as a chef instructor with Near North Clinic and their program “Operation Front Line”. Through the Share our Strength (SOS) program, David enjoys teaching parents and children with diabetes, recipes and better eating habits through his live cooking and nutrition demonstrations. As a food columnist of “Chef D’s Kitchen”, David offers recipes and cooking tips found weekly in the pages of the Chicago Defender Newspaper. David is currently working on becoming a Certified Sommelier with a desire to bring more knowledge and appreciation of wine to the south side of Chicago.

Chef Dave has worked as a mentor, career day guest speaker and culinary judge for several “Careers through Culinary Arts Programs” in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Over the years, he has enjoyed working with and employing dozens of CPS-culinary students. Currently David is the Career Cluster Manager of the Hospitality & Culinary Arts Program with CPS and the Department of College & Career Preparation. With the opportunity to help mold and groom future chefs, he is excited for the impact they will make on the restaurant scene in Chicago and worldwide.

During his down time, David enjoys spending it with his wife, Onshelle and their twin children, son David II and daughter Maya. He is currently working on his first cookbook entitled, “Food: The Great Equalizer”. David enjoys playing golf and is an avid SCUBA Diver. And yes, he does cook occasionally at home.

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