Executive Chef Trevor Cole brings diverse culinary experience and a fresh take on Latin cuisine to Ronero, the Latin American-inspired rum bar and restaurant which debuted on Chicago’s Restaurant Row in 2016. Presenting guests with updated versions of iconic dishes from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, Cole serves a menu divided into three sections: Para Compartir (small shareable bites), Carnes, Aves, Pescado (meat, poultry, and fish plates), and El Gran Show (the big show) featuring show-stopping large-format shareable dishes served tableside. Encouraging social, boisterous dining, the menu embodies Ronero’s zestful spirit.
When he was 14 years old, Cole started working in kitchens in his hometown of Traverse City, MI. Upon moving to Chicago to study vocal performance at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Cole relied on positions at The Chicago Diner and House Red Vinoteca to support himself through college. His first culinary job after graduating was at Barley & Brass, where he was executive chef. Six months later, Cole moved on to a position as executive sous chef at Chicago Cut Steakhouse. Cole says that the experience of managing such a high-volume kitchen at the iconic Chicago steakhouse was one of the most formative periods of his career. Cole was brought on to the Ronero team as sous chef in March 2016 and was recently promoted to executive chef in August 2017.
As executive chef at Ronero, Cole creates new menu items and oversees full menu planning and preparation. In order to ensure Ronero’s offerings are authentic, Cole consistently researches South American cuisine. “If I learn how to do something, I have to know every single thing about it,” he says, “I’m pretty obsessive.”
In his free time, Cole likes to spend time with his daughter and his friends. Even when he’s not in the Ronero kitchen, he still likes to cook for his family. Cole takes pride in preparing the best local ingredients he can find. He enjoys visiting local markets, where he familiarizes himself with farmers and local purveyors.