Michael Taus is a culinary artist and restaurateur. His knowledge of all things culinary, and attention to detail are evident in his award-wining restaurant, Zealous. Taus artfully expresses his culinary style through food that fuses contemporary American cuisine with vibrant flavors and styles from around the world. His dishes offer patrons an adventurous foray into a world of tastes, textures and appearances.
His interest in food stems from his grandmother's early teachings in the kitchen. By age ten, he knew that food was his calling. A loving family nurtured his passion by filling his childhood with dishes from their multi-ethnic background - an interesting European combination of Austrian-Czech, Northern Italian and Sicilian.
Taus attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). During his schooling, he interned at Pierre Pollin's Le Titi de Paris in Arlington Heights, IL.
Upon graduating from CIA in 1988, Taus landed a much-coveted position in Charlie Trotter's kitchen, a seminal experience that greatly influenced his future as a chef.
From Trotter's, Taus traveled westward, spending a year at Joachim Splichal's Patina in Los Angeles. It is here where Taus developed his passion for Asian cuisine. With a newly-inspired culinary vision, Taus returned to Chicago in 1993 and opened Zealous in suburban Elmhurst. The name was derived from a reference letter that Chef Trotter had written about Taus: "Michael is devoted to the art of cuisine with an almost religious zealousness."
Forging ahead, success came quickly. Less than a year after it opened, Taus was humbled to earn honorable recognition in Chicago magazine’s Best New Restaurants feature in May 1994.
But his grand vision for Zealous was still greater: To blend ambiance, fare, service and business within the confines of his own, unique establishment. With this in mind Taus moved Zealous to Chicago's vibrant River North area.
Since opening, Zealous has earned 3 1/2 stars from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times, 3 stars from Chicago Magazine, and 4 stars from CS Magazine. Taus' reputation has grown, and he has received praise from many national culinary magazines.