Zach Walrath learned to love the restaurant business at a young age. Between his father who worked for a food distribution company and his grandfather who owned a local pizzeria, the business of food was an integral part of Zach’s childhood. Tagging along with his dad on weekend food deliveries to local restaurants and working at his grandpa’s pizzeria offered him a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of restaurants and he knew he wanted to be a part of it for life.
In 2006, Zach moved to Chicago from his hometown of Rock Falls, Illinois to start culinary school and graduated with his Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He gained experience working at various restaurants in Chicago and in 2010 he joined the culinary team at the newly opened Wit Hotel where he worked under Chef Todd Stein before he was recruited by Stein to join him at The Florentine. For the past six years, Zach has remained a fixture on the culinary team at The Florentine, where has been working closely with Executive Chef Chris Macchia for the past three years. As Chef de Cuisine, Zach has developed his own unique approach to the menu, adding a bit of a contemporary touch to traditional Italian cuisine and incorporating influences and inspirations he finds while dining out at various restaurants in Chicago.
When he’s not in the kitchen or looking for inspiration at one of Chicago’s diverse restaurants, Zach can be found cheering on the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears, whether winning or losing.