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2016 Talent
2016 Talent
Rodelio Aglibot
The Food Buddha

Aglibot is known the world over as “The Food Buddha” for his dedication to his heritage and menu development which inspired his television show “Food Buddha", premiered... MORE

www.rodelioaglibot.com
Louie Alexakis
Avli Restaurant

Louie Alexakis is the current Chef/Owner of Avli Estiatorio, located in Winnetka, IL. Louie grew up in the food business, whose family started in the early 1900's in Chicago... MORE.

www.avli.us
Jeffrey Alvarez
Hyatt Regency Chicago

Chef Jeffrey attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he obtained his baking and pastry arts degree. Born and raised... MORE.

www.chicagoregency.hyatt.com
Nate Appleman
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen

Chef Nate Appleman’s soulful cooking has garnered him national praise. In 2009, he received the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef award... MORE.

www.shophousekitchen.com
Amy Arnold
Bombo Bar

Amy Arnold is the Corporate Pastry Chef for Dineamic Group in Chicago. She was attracted to Dineamic by their growing reputation for cutting edge... MORE.

www.dineamicgroup.com/
Ashlee Aubin
Salero

Chef Ashlee Aubin, a Michigan native, has been cooking in Chicago for the last eight years. His first position in Chicago was at the Lakeview... MORE

www.salerochicago.com
Matt Ayala
Cochon Volant

Chef Matt Ayala attended culinary school in Atlanta, GA before moving to Chicago to begin his professional career. Ayala worked in the kitchen... MORE

www.cochonvolantchicago.com
Tanya Baker
The Boarding House

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago, Chef Tanya Baker joined The Boarding House’s opening team after serving as line cook and chef de cuisine in restaurants throughout the city...MORE.

www.boardinghousechicago.com
Jimmy Bannos
Heaven on Seven

Heaven on Seven at 111 N. Wabash, 7th floor, Chicago, is the original location for the authentic Cajun cuisine of critically acclaimed chef/owner Jimmy Bannos. With the ever-famous gumbo, Heaven on Seven provides... MORE.

www.heavenonseven.com
Jimmy Bannos, Jr.
The Purple Pig

Jimmy Bannos Jr., a fourth-generation restaurateur, was born and raised in Chicago’s Heaven on Seven. Put to work for his father at age five, Jimmy learned the trade firsthand while spending days at the family-owned Louisiana-style restaurant...MORE.

www.thepurplepigchicago.com/
Pepe Barajas
el Solazo

Jose Luis Barajas (Pepe) developed a passion for cooking at a very young age. His “taqueria” roots and strong work ethic go back to Mexico as a kid helping his grandfather...MORE.

www.elsolazochicago.com
Andrés Barrera
City Winery

Chef Barrera was first inspired to cook watching the early greats on television; greats such as Jeff Smith, Martin Yan, Julia Childs, Jack Tripper...MORE.

www.citywinery.com
Rick Bayless
Frontera Grill / Topolobampo / Xoco River North / Xoco Wicker Park

Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, beating out the French and Italian with his authentic Mexican cuisine. His highly rated Public Television Series... MORE.

www.rickbayless.com
Joey Beato
Community Tavern

When it comes to preparing food, Executive Chef/Partner Joey Beato says, “It has to be fun.” Uniting a lifelong passion for the culinary arts.... MORE.

www.communitytavern.com
Evan Behmer
Mercat a la Planxa

Chef Evan Behmer, a Chicagoland native, grew up in a food-loving family—whether it was cooking up the day’s catch on fishing trips ...MORE.

www.mercatchicago.com

Greg Biggers
Café des Architectes 

Executive Chef Greg Biggers joined Sofitel Chicago Water Tower in January of 2011 to oversee all aspects of the hotel’s dining operations, including its restaurant, Café des Architectes. The chic, Gold Coast restaurant is celebrated... MORE.

www.cafedesarchitectes.com
Robert Blanchard
Norman's Bistro

 

http://www.normansbistro.com/
Laurel Boger
The Eli's Cheesecake Company

Chef Boger is the Executive Pastry Chef and creative Research Chef for The Eli’s Cheesecake Company. Aside from dazzling Eli’s... MORE.

www.elicheesecake.com
Bob Broskey
Beacon Tavern

Robert Broskey is the executive chef at Chicago’s Beacon Tavern. He is self-trained and the first person in his family... MORE.

http://beacontavern.com/
Aaron Browning
Tortoise Club

Chef Aaron Browning joined Tortoise Club in 2014. In this role, Browning crafts signature menu items and manages menu development... MORE.

www.tortoiseclub.com
Sam Burman
MCA Cafè (MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART)

Sam Burman, Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Burman has been fascinated by the culinary world since a young age, having spent... MORE

www.mcachicago.org
Nicolas Cabrera
STK Chicago

Chef Nicolas Cabrera joins The ONE Group to launch the renowned restaurant group’s signature steakhouse, STK Chicago. Hailing from... MORE.

www.togrp.com
Alfonso Cadena
Hueso

Choosing bones as the main decorative feature of a restaurant is a bold move – there’s a danger that the experience... MORE.

http://www.huesorestaurant.com/
Niall Campbell
firefly grill

Experience: Last Unicorn, Waterville, Maine; Alden Camps, Oakland, Maine; the Bread Box Café, Waterville, Maine; the Blue Macaw, Vieques, Puerto Rico... MORE.

www.fireflygrill.com
Paul Caravelli
KNIFE & TINE

Paul Caravelli brings his years of kitchen experience and passion for hospitality to Knife&Tine in Lincoln Park. He is fascinated by... MORE.

www.knifeandtine.com
Tony Castillo
Longitud315

Tony Castillo is the Executive Chef and Co-owner of Longitud315 in Highwood, IL. Chef Tony brings to Highwood and to all food lovers... MORE

www.longitud315.com
Konstantinos Chaidaropoulos
Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi

Chef Kostas attended the School of Tourism and Hospitality in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he obtained his culinary degree. He began...MORE.

www.stetsonschicago.com
Kee Chan
Lure Izakaya Pub / Strings Ramen Shop

As a young cook, Chef Kee Chan was first introduced to the techniques of classic Japanese cooking during his tenure at Suntory where...MORE.

www.ramenchicago.com
David Chapman
Green Zebra

Chef David Chapman, a Midwestern native, had a passion for cooking at a very young age. David grew up regularly cooking...MORE.

http://www.greenzebrachicago.com/press.html
Sandy Chen
Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge

Growing up in the Provence Wen Zhou, Zhe Jiang of Southern China, in a small village just south of Shanghai, Sandy Chen began her culinary... MORE

www.koievanston.com
John Chiakulas
Beatrix

John Chiakulas is Corporate Chef of LEYE and Chef Partner of Beatrix, Antico Posto, Foodease Market, Foodlife, Mity Nice Grill and L. Woods. His journey...MORE.

www.beatrixchicago.com
Patrick Cloud
Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits

Patrick Cloud, Chicago native and head chef of Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Logan Square & Lincoln Square. After graduating...MORE.

www.bangbangpie.com
Peter Coenen
Cherry Circle Room

Peter Coenen an executive chef with Land and Sea Dept, overseeing their various concepts within the Chicago Athletic Association, which...MORE.

www.cherrycircleroom.com
Amanda Cohen
Dirt Candy

Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, the award-winning vegetable restaurant on New York City's Lower East Side. The...MORE.

www.dirtcandynyc.com
John Coletta
Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar

John Coletta is a chef, restaurateur, author (250 True Italian Pasta Dishes), and ambassador for Italian Gastronomy. As Executive Chef and...MORE.

www.quartinochicago.com
Federico Comacchio
Coco Pazzo Restaurants

Federico is passionate about the clean, clear flavors of Tuscany. He believes that every dish should simply express the fresh ingredients from...MORE

www.cocopazzochicago.com
Abraham Conlon
Fat Rice

Growing up in Lowell MA, Abraham Conlon’s culinary beginning was heavily impacted by his Portuguese heritage and a strong Southeast...MORE

www.eatfatrice.com
Shaun Connolly
Presidio

Shaun Connolly is Executive Chef of Presidio and an esteemed Chicago chef. After studying at Kendall College, Connolly staged at a Michelin...MORE

www.presidiochicago.com
Luca Corazzina
312 Chicago

312 CHICAGO, nearby theaters and Chicago’s renowned shopping district in the heart of downtown Chicago Loop has some new fire... MORE

www.312chicago.com
Timothy Cottini
Fork Restaurant

Timothy Cottini cooks with passion and purpose. Since coming to Fork in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, where four generations... MORE

www.forkchicago.com
Craig Couper
Michael Jordan's Steakhouse

A Chicago-area native, Chef Craig Couper’s love for the culinary world began at a young age and at just 11-years-old, he was already religiously reading...MORE.

www.mjshchicago.com
Rodolfo Cuadros
Carnivale

As a young boy, Chef Rodolfo Cuadros would slip on an apron and pull up a stool to help his mother and aunts in the kitchen. Little did...MORE.

www.carnivalechicago.com
Kevin Cuddihee
TWO Restaurant and Bar

Stepping into the lead kitchen role at TWO, Kevin Cuddihee brings the dedication he’s had since the restaurant first ... MORE

www.113two.com
Chris Davies
Steadfast

Chris Davies is an executive chef for The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group and oversees the kitchens at Homestead On The Roof, West Town Bakery, and... MORE

www.thefifty50group.com
Jess DeGuzman
Sunda 

Born and raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, Jess DeGuzman developed a love for cooking at a very young age, cooking family...MORE

www.sundachicago.com
Kymberli DeLost
Acanto / The Gage

Kymberli DeLost joined the culinary team at The Gage, Acanto and The Dawson, as Executive Pastry Chef in February 2015. She adds... MORE

www.acantochicago.com
Ali Dewjee
Bombay Wraps

When Falguni Dewjee and Ali Dewjee, a husband / wife team, opened Bombay Wraps in 2010, they had one simple mission – to share...MORE.

www.bombaywraps.com
Rohini Dey
Vermilion

A leading restaurateur, proponent of Indian cuisine with her unique Latin twist across Vermilion Chicago and NYC, an avid supporter of women – former World Bank economist and... MORE.

www.thevermilionrestaurant.com/
Carolina Diaz
Terzo Piano at the Modern Wing of The Art Institute of Chicago

Growing up in a large Mexican family outside of Chicago, Carolina Diaz always had a special relationship with food. Whether cooking meals....MORE.

http://www.terzopianochicago.com/
Marco DiBenedetto
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Chef Marco DiBenedetto is an esteemed, 16 year member of the Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse team. A graduate of the ...MORE.

www.gibsonssteakhouse.com
Anthony DiRienzo
Nellcôte

Melding a straightforward approach to a cooking style that approaches fresh, vegetable focused-cuisine, Anthony DiRienzo presents...MORE.

www.nellcoterestaurant.com
Larry Donahue
Weber Grill Restaurant

Larry first began his culinary experience working in his hometown restaurants along the Jersey Shore. After years of working every... MORE

www.webergrillrestaurant.com
 
Amanda Downing
Rockit Bar and Grill

Born and raised in Elgin, IL, a Northwest suburb of Chicago, Chef Amanda Downing developed a passion for "family style comfort food" at a young... MORE

www.rockitbarandgrill.com
 
Will Duncan
Punch House

Rising from dishwasher to waiter at a small neighborhood restaurant in Upstate New York set Duncan’s passion for food ablaze. He re-located to New York City to work as a waiter.... MORE

http://punchhousechicago.com/
Stephen Dunne
Paramount Room

Stephen Dunne was drawn to cooking during his high school years in suburban Detroit. After working in various family-style eateries... MORE

www.paramountroom.com
David Dworshak
Bar Takito / Takito Kitchen

David Dworshak has worked in the restaurant business for 18 years strong. Before moving to Chicago to further his professional culinary... MORE

www.takitokitchen.com
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