Mike Ditka's Chicago
Born 1/26/62 in Chicago Illinois to James and Therese Kenny. Attended St. Mary of the Woods Grammar School, Gordon Tech High School (Graduated 1980) and the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana where he studied finance and played in several jazz and rock bands.
During his college years he worked as a cook in two restaurants. In 1986 he decided to pursue cooking as a career. He landed a line cook position at Spiaggia Restaurant in Chicago and within two years he became Sous Chef. The following year he became the Chef of Spiaggia Private Dining & Conference Center. In 1991 he became Executive Chef at the Main Street Bistro in Racine, Wisconsin where he worked for the Johnson Family, Owners of S.C. Johnson Wax.
In 1995 he returned to Chicago and became Executive Chef of Carlucci Restaurant in Rosemont, Illinois. He quickly earned rave reviews from Chicago Magazine, The Chicago Sun Times and the New York Times Travel Section. During this time he met Mike Ditka and in 1997 Ditka lured him to his Downtown Chicago Restaurant, where he has worked ever since. In 2002 he became chef-partner.
Over the course of his career Tom has appeared on several television programs, including an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show, Bill Cosby’s Kid’s Say the Darndest Things and a live appearance with Julia Child on “Milwaukee’s Talking.” He has been a spokesperson for the National Pork Producers Council. He has also been involved in many charity events including; United Cerebral Palsy Great Chef’s Dinner (co-chair 1998-2013), Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Brunch (1997-2002), James Beard Foundation N.Y.C. (1997) and Muhammad Ali’s “Hear My Voice” where he was the sole chef for Ali’s VIP reception at the Drake Hotel.
In 2001 Tom and Mike Ditka formed their own manufacturing company “Ditka’s Real Foods.” They have created a line of specialty products that includes sauces, BBQ ribs, Italian Beef and giardinera for retail stores. The products are now available in most Chicago area grocery stores.
Tom lives in Oak Park, Illinois. He is the proud father of his son Samuel and his daughter Avery. In his spare time he enjoys playing and collecting guitars.