J. ROCCO ITALIAN TABLE & BAR
Chef Javier Perez considers himself a “self taught” cook whose training and skill was acquired after more than 20 years of working in some of Chicago’s most well regarded restaurants. In 1990, after arriving in Chicago from Mexico City, Javier began his culinary training by walking in to the kitchen of the James Beard Award winning Chef Tony Montuano at Tuttaposto; landing a job as a dishwasher. Chef Perez quickly moved up in the kitchen ranks and began to learn to cook the authentic Italian cuisine of Chef Montuano in a fine dining restaurant environment.
In 1994 Chef Perez moved to Marche restaurant where he worked with the then young, Chef Michael Kornick. In 1997 Javier left Marche to join Chef Kornick in opening up the three star MK Restaurant. At MK Chef Perez continued to hone his skills as a cook in a fine dining kitchen; learning to craft seasonal, refined, ingredient driven food. MK’s French and Italian based contemporary American cuisine, extensive wine selection, and emphasis on hospitality served to create a solid foundation for Chef Perez’s cooking style and restaurant philosophy.
In 2007 Chef Perez left MK and once again worked under Chef Tony Montuano at the four star Spiaggia restaurant. At Spiaggia Javier had the opportunity to work in the front of the house and gain the experience and know how to execute seamless first class service in one of Chicago’s greatest dining rooms.
Not one to rest on his laurels Chef Perez, while working evenings at Spiaggia, assisted in the opening of the kitchen at Paramount with Executive chef Stephen Dunne and owner John Young. Javier remained at Paramount until 2009 when he left to join Chef Todd Stein to help open Cibo Mato at the Wit. As Chef Stein’s sous chef, Javier helped craft seasonal, ingredient-driven Modern Italian cuisine until 2011, when he left to realize his goal of opening up his own restaurant, Al Dente.
Today, Perez is utilizing his talent and knowledge through the development of a fresh and seasonal approach at Chicago’s J. Rocco Italian Table & Bar.