Featured in Best Chefs America 2013, a peer-review based “chefs guide to chefs,” and named one of Time Out Chicago’s “20 Chefs to Watch” in 2011, native Chicagoan Duncan Biddulph steps up to join Element Collective as Executive Chef of Kinmont, Chicago’s entirely sustainable fish and seafood restaurant.
After five years spent gathering invaluable on-the-job experience in kitchens throughout the country, Biddulph then attended culinary school at the Illinois Institute of Art. While his formal education was conducted at ILIA, Duncan’s formative training was earned through hours of hard work in the kitchens of industry favorites like Lula Café in Logan Square—one of the original Chicago restaurants grounded in the local/sustainable ethos. Working his way up from brunch cook to eventually become sous chef for Jason Vincent, Biddulph also honed his instincts and sharpened his unique cooking sensibilities under the guidance and mentorship of Lula Café owners Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshilds. At Hammel’s urging, Biddulph then took time to travel throughout Europe, soaking in new techniques, ideologies and cultures while working in authentic Italian and English restaurants.
Following his return to Chicago, Duncan was quickly tapped to take over at acclaimed West Town eatery Rootstock, stepping into his first Executive Chef position. Biddulph’s seasonally focused small plate program was hailed by Chicago media and food lovers alike. After three years at Rootstock, Duncan Biddulph is excited to step into his next role as Executive Chef of Kinmont, where, in addition to the traditional salmon, tuna, oysters, crab, lobster, shellfish and other customary seafood choices, Biddulph will shine the spotlight on “rough fish” or “trash fish”—fish that are lesser utilized but no less delicious and versatile.
Fittingly, one of Biddulph’s principal passions and greatest strengths as a chef lies in working with fish. He believes that each fish demands to be cooked in its own unique way, with proper attention and respect paid to specific attributes like bone structure and shape. Biddulph understands that success in any endeavor is found at the intersection of preparedness and creativity—with systems carefully in place, the chef is free to intuitively react to inspiration in any form, relying on a sturdy foundation that has been meticulously built. At Kinmont, Biddulph will do just that, crafting a menu and dining experience from the ground up, in which his cooking philosophy will shine through: strategize, execute and—even if you get everything right—continuously seek ways to make it better. Biddulph’s plans are poignantly simple to their core: “to make great food and be happy—in that order.”