With 13 years of kitchen experience under his belt at The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, Executive Chef Cardel Reid continues to prove his dedication to upholding the culinary legacy of the iconic Chicago restaurant. The Signature Room veteran designs his menus around sustainable ingredients sourced from local purveyors and markets such as the Green City Market. Reid credits the innovative nature of his contemporary American dishes to the autonomy encouraged at the Signature Room. “It’s exciting to work somewhere that gives me free range to explore my cooking creativity,” he says. “It’s one of the many reasons why I have loved working at the Signature Room for so long. They really take care of me.” Since taking on the role of executive chef in January, 2014, Reid manages the entire back of the house, overseeing menu planning, food distribution, and supervising the kitchen and pasty departments.
Growing up cooking alongside his mother in Jamaica, Reid brings in aspects of his upbringing to the Signature Room’s menu, notably his affinity for sustainable seafood. The self-taught chef mastered the skills of working in a fine-dining kitchen early on in his time at the restaurant, as he quickly ascended through the ranks after beginning work on the line in 2001. He dedicated seven years in the catering department as assistant banquet chef and banquet sous chef, playing an instrumental role in planning and executing multiple-course wine dinners and cocktail receptions for up to 1,500 people. Reid participated in the restaurant’s chef exchange program, traveling to Osaka in 2005 as an ambassador of the Signature Room. During that time, he also had the opportunity to cook for Chicago Chefs de Cuisine Society’s “Les Amis Escoffier” Dinner 2006, and at the James Beard House in 2013, both under the direction of Executive Chef Patrick Sheerin. Prior to becoming the Signature Room’s executive chef, Reid worked for two years as chef de cuisine.
Outside of the restaurant, Reid enjoys spending time with his two children, exploring Chicago’s many parks and museums. He currently resides on the South Side of Chicago.