Timothy Cottini, Executive Chef of Fork Restaurant and the new Knife Steak & Seafood, cooks with passion and purpose. Since coming to Fork in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, where four generations of his family have called their home, Timothy has had the opportunity to showcase his passion. Focusing his energy on highlighting local produce, sustainable fish and naturally raised meats, he has raised the bar in the neighborhood while building a stellar reputation for Fork. He can be seen at numerous local markets talking with the farmers and planning menus for the weeks to come. Taking a big step forward in 2013, Timothy won the people’s choice award in Brewery Ommegang’s Hop Chef, as well as being a finalist for the Golden Rasher two straight years at Baconfest, 2015 & 2016. In 2016 he was also named by Zagat as one of the “Under the radar chef’s to know in Chicago,”
Timothy has worked for and learned from some highly acclaimed chefs in his twenty plus years of cooking. His culinary education was at Kendall College and spent his internship working at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas under the legendary Dean Fearing. Upon returning to Chicago, and while finishing his degree, Timothy worked under the tutelage of Shawn McClain and Jared Wentworth. He then received an opportunity to work as a Sous Chef at a small French Bistro, Betise, in Wilmette. While still finishing his degree, Timothy took over the duties of Chef at Betise and continued as Chef for another year after finishing his degree.
Timothy then took a position at NoMi to learn from Chef Sandro Gamba, then moved on to work for Chef Charlie Trotter and then to study under Bruce Sherman at North Pond. At North Pond, Timothy learned to appreciate the origins of food and the importance of using local farmers to serve it in its peak season. Working his way up through the stations at North Pond, Timothy earned the rank of Sous Chef and helped lead the kitchen for over a year in that role.
Timothy then moved to Ambria to work with Chefs Gabino Sotelino and Christian Eckmann, with the goal of returning Ambria to its spot amongst Chicago’s best restaurants. Then Timothy moved to Café BaBaReeba, one of Chicago’s busiest and most popular locations. It was there that Timothy spent the next seven years, carving out a niche for himself by instilling his emphasis on seasonality and locally grown produce.
In 2012 Chef Cottini took an opportunity to return to his roots and become Chef/Partner at Fork. Moving to a new restaurant in a smaller family focused neighborhood has been very rewarding and challenging. Timothy has reworked the restaurant to become more of a farm to table experience, using locally grown produce and locally raised, natural meats. Timothy’s profound respect and care for seasonality and sustainability has brought great things to Fork for the past several years.
In October of 2016 Chef Cottini opened Knife, a neoclassical steak & seafood house with David & Paula Byers, his partners at Fork. It is situated in the nearby North Center neighborhood of Chicago at 4343 N. Lincoln. Knife maintains the focus started at Fork by Chef Cottini: locally sourced natural meats, sustainable seafood and seasonal side dishes from a bounty of local farmers.