Chefs Table, Chefs List

A celebration of CS Magazine's upcoming July Restaurant issue and benefitting DIFFA/Chicago, CS will welcome the best chefs in Chicago to cook their finest dishes in premiere Jenn-Air test kitchens on the Penthouse level of The Reid Murdoch Building. Taste cuisine for over ten top chefs and sip Mionetto champagne, specialty cocktails created by mixologist Adam Seger while supporting a great case. Jenn-Air and CS will be auctioning some amazing packages with 100% of funds benefitting DIFFA Chicago. Tickets are $150.

View the silent auction

The Chefs

Chris Pandel ~

If The Bristol in Bucktown cemented Chris Pandel's status as one of the area's top chefs and restaurateurs, then Balena cemented him as one of the top in the country.

Full Bio

This month marks the first anniversary of Balena's opening, and in barely a year Pandel was named chef of the year in the 2012 Eater Awards, Balena was among Bon Appetit's top 50 new restaurants and was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for best new restaurant.Pandel also welcomed his second child a month ago, and chatted about the first year of Balena and what's on the horizon for himself and the restaurant in between domestic duties and running two of the hottest restaurants in town.

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Chris Macchia ~

Chris Macchia brings more than 15 years of prolific industry experience to his position as executive chef of The Florentine.

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A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Macchia began his career with a two-year tenure at the world-renowned Gotham Bar & Grill in New York City, before heading west to join the culinary team at the five-star, five-diamond Four Seasons Hotel in Maui. From there, he moved to Chicago to serve as chef de cuisine for KDK Restaurant Group, specifically managing Red Light and Saiko restaurants, as well as for the Peninsula Hotel.

Macchia joined Coco Pazzo Restaurants as executive chef/partner in 2006, attracting attention from local critics, who applauded his contemporary take on Tuscan-inspired dining. His dishes showcased a true passion for Italian ingredients treated with unique, imaginative techniques. Most recently, Macchia received the Jean Banchet Rising Star Chef award for his work at Coco Pazzo in 2011. While supervising all aspects of both Coco Pazzo and Coco Pazzo Café, Macchia was awarded Chicago magazine’s “Best Top 20 Pizzas”, three-star reviews from both the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business, and a three-and-a-half review and “Top Ten Restaurants” nod from the Chicago Sun-Times in 2009.

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Mindy Segal ~

Mindy Segal specializes in contemporary American cuisine, placing a modern twist on traditional classics.

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What makes her one of the best pastry chefs in America is her mastery of temperature, texture and taste. In a word, balance. Chef Segal refined her craft as pastry chef in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the country, with early professional positions stationing her at Spago, Gordon, Charlie Trotter’s, Ambria and MK.

Segal’s subtle combinations of hot and cold, crispy and smooth, salty and sweet raise her desserts to the level of perfection. But her desserts don’t come off as meticulous, manufactured or precious, but rather as heartfelt dishes of pure craftsmanship—a craftsmanship that is rooted in Midwestern wholesomeness and more importantly comfort. Eating one of Mindy’s desserts can transport you back to a fond childhood memory of sweetness that has been taken apart and somehow reassembled into something better.

Mindy’s restaurant, HotChocolate is the culmination of 25+ years of dedication to her craft and the passion she has for the entire culinary experience. The urban café is a marriage of contemporary sweet and savory food, inspired by seasonal, local ingredients. It features an innovative, ever-evolving menu presented with gracious, polished first-class service in a friendly, inviting atmosphere..

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Jared Van Camp ~

After graduating in 2000 from Johnson & Wales University with an AAS in Culinary Arts receiving Cum Laude Honors,

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Jared Van Camp went on to work with chefs such as Donald Barickman of Magnolia’s in Charleston, South Carolina, Paul Kahan of Blackbird and Rick Tramonto of Tru, in Chicago, Illinois. Chef Van Camp, as could be expected, is intensely passionate about every solitary detail involved with the presentation of every menu item to every guest. Although the creation of any menu item is fairly elaborate, as everything is hand made on site from the freshest products, to summarize what his intent is with the menu is not.

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Jess De Guzman ~

Jess De Guzman didn’t exactly try to become a sushi chef; the job kept falling into his lap. In the mid-1990s, he was slinging cocktails at Tsunami in the Gold Coast,

Full Bio

when one night, the sushi chef asked him to give maki-making a try. De Guzman proved a natural, and the chef offered to train him, but De Guzman went to Hawaii for a year instead. When he returned to Chicago, he went for a bartending tryout at Sushi Wabi on Randolph Street—and ended up behind the sushi bar.

Now the executive sushi chef at Sunda, De Guzman says he’s good with his hands and will grudgingly admit that, perhaps, after all these years, he has a certain talent for inventing the original sushi creations that have become some of the restaurant’s most memorable offerings. When not putting in 12-hour workdays, De Guzman says he can be found exercising at the gym or hibernating with his wife, Kathleen, and their dog, watching reruns of CSI. When he does venture out, a trendy scene is the last thing he craves. Says De Guzman: “If a place doesn’t look like a bar, I’ll go there.”

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Frederico Comacchio ~

Chef Federico Comacchio is on a mission to bring true Italian food to the American dining experience.

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Born in Lodi, Italy, Federico started cooking when he was in his early teens and his mom was his inspiration. Sundays were the day that she would get up very early and begin to prepare a family feast. Food was the focus of the day and he recalls it all with great fondness.

Now the executive sushi chef at Sunda, De Guzman says he’s good with his hands and will grudgingly admit that, perhaps, after all these years, he has a certain talent for inventing the original sushi creations that have become some of the restaurant’s most memorable offerings. When not putting in 12-hour workdays, De Guzman says he can be found exercising at the gym or hibernating with his wife, Kathleen, and their dog, watching reruns of CSI. When he does venture out, a trendy scene is the last thing he craves. Says De Guzman: “If a place doesn’t look like a bar, I’ll go there.”

Federico is passionate about the clean, clear flavors of Tuscany. He believes that every dish should simply express the fresh ingredients from which it is prepared and he demonstrates this in both his traditional and contemporary creations at Coco Pazzo. Federico’s early hands-on culinary education took him through Italy including Genoa and Milan where he worked for two Michelin Star restaurants. He worked with the Bice organization in Paris and Puerto Rico and returned to Italy. His dream of coming to the states brought him to Chicago in 2001where he became executive chef at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush.

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Jacques Torres ~

Fondly referred to as Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres (www.mrchocolate.com) is the authority on all things related to this confectionery delight.

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Through his early years as a pastry chef, Jacques developed a deep affinity and passion for chocolate. Raised in France, Jacques fulfilled his American dream in 2000 with the opening of his first chocolate factory, Jacques Torres Chocolate in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Jacques was a pioneer—the first artisan chocolatier to start from cocoa beans to make his own chocolate. Jacques prides himself on specializing in fresh, hand-crafted chocolates using premium ingredients free of preservatives and artificial flavors.

Jacques and his chocolate became an instant success attracting fans from all over the country. In 2004, he opened his second chocolate factory and flagship store, Jacques Torres Chocolate, in downtown New York City on Hudson Street. With a retail viewing space surrounded by 5,000 square feet of a chocolate manufacturing plant, at the Hudson St. workshop, visitors can peer into Jacques’ venerated process of turning cocoa beans into chocolate bars. Today, Jacques produces and sells his chocolates and other high-end confectionery products at his two workshops and retail-only boutiques on the Upper West Side, Chelsea Market, and Rockefeller Center, all in Manhattan. Jacques recently signed a lease for a manufacturing space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, and plans to move all production to the new facility by the fall of 2013.

Jacques’ story begins in Bandol, France, a small town in the southern region of Provence. At an early age, Jacques was inspired to start a culinary career thanks to his love for food and making people happy. Despite not having extensive prior training, but having 3 years apprenticeship, Jacques considered himself a craftsman and, in 1980, landed a job with Michelin two-star chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco, starting a relationship that would last 8 years and take him around the globe. In 1986, Jacques was awarded the prestigious M.O.F. medal, the youngest chef to earn the distinction. Jacques counts his M.O.F. coach, Lou Lou Franchain, as a role model – along with Frank Mars of M&M Mars and Leonardo DaVinci who have served as sources of inspiration throughout his career.

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Hasty Torres ~

MADAME CHOCOLAT Beverly Hills chocolate factory boutique café is the dream-come-true of Owner/Chocolatier Hasty Torres.

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Handmade fresh daily using only the highest quality ingredients and Belgium chocolate, Hasty offers a selection of twenty-three flavors of artisan bonbon.

A native of Los Angeles, Hasty followed her studies at USC graduating with a Business degree from the Marshall School of Business in 1998 with a successful career in the financial industry. Following her heart and her passion, she left her career to complete the full chefs training at the Pasadena outpost of Le Cordon Bleu in 2004. An intensive internship with Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Jacques Torres in New York led him to assign her the duties of opening chef for his flagship 8,000 square foot chocolate factory and retail headquarters. In 2006, Hasty returned home to Los Angeles to open her own chocolate factory Madame Chocolat on chic Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. Jacques and Hasty fell in love over chocolate and were married in 2007.

Today, both Hasty Torres and Madame Chocolat Beverly Hills are widely recognized for a whimsical, fashionable and custom approach to chocolate making of the highest caliber.

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Adam Seger ~

Mixologist Adam Seger is known for his unique ability to incorporate new and classic culinary techniques to expand his wide range of cocktail flavor profiles.

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At Chicago’s Nacional 27, Seger serves as Mixologist and Sommelier, as well as beverage advisor for Osteria Via Stato. Seger creates a culinary-mixology fusion, bringing the bar and kitchen together.

A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Seger was StarChefs.com’s first “Chicago Rising Star Bar Chef” and has been dubbed “Chicago’s King of Cocktails” by New York City Magazine. Seger’s Kentucky Long Shot was named the official cocktail of the 1998 Breeder’s Cup and his El Corazon at Nacional 27 was named one of the best drinks in Chicago by Time-Out Chicago.

Seger passed the Advanced Exam of the Court of Master Sommeliers on his first attempt. He is the co-founder of Chicago Blind Tasters, a group of sommeliers from Chicago’s TRU, Charlie Trotters and NoMi, dedicated to preparing each other for the holy grail of wine, the Master Sommelier accreditation.

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Thai Dang ~

As executive chef of Embeya, Thai Dang is carrying out a simple philosophy with compelling results. As executive chef of Embeya,

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Thai Dang is carrying out a simple philosophy with compelling results. He believes that the basis of any good dish is understanding the product followed by treating and caring for each ingredient individually.

His commitment to precision and attention to detail have been hallmarks of his career. In preparation for Embeya, Dang and director Attila Gyulai traveled across Asia to explore its diverse cuisines.

Their trip reinforced Dang’s desire to celebrate the best ingredients from around the world by remaining true to their flavors. He also draws inspiration from his Vietnamese upbringing and classic French training to create the inventive contemporary Asian cuisine at Embeya.

Dang began honing his culinary skills as chef de partie for award-winning chef Eric Ziebold of CityZen, a Triple A Four Diamond restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C. He then received recognition as a senior sous chef for celebrated chef Susur Lee of Zentan at The Donovan House Hotel in D.C. Dang’s knowledge of Asian-inspired cuisine was essential to the development of this seasonal menu. It was here that Dang first began combining his native Vietnamese cuisine with his traditional French training to create a modern take on Asian cuisine.

In 2009, renowned chef Laurent Gras invited Dang to join the L2O team in Chicago. Dang worked closely with chef Gras to create the menu’s seasonal, labor-intensive dishes and in 2010, helped the restaurant earn three Michelin stars. Cooking at this caliber demanded discipline and attention to detail with some of the finest ingredients the world has to offer.

Dang, then, joined the kitchen at two-star Michelin restaurant RIA and Balsan at the Elysian Hotel Chicago as chef de cuisine. His focus on clean, fresh flavors coupled with his contemporary approach to technique and presentation elevated the menus at both restaurants. In 2012, Dang left to pursue his own restaurant venture and further develop his unique cooking style.

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Patrón ~

Simply Perfect in every way, Patrón tequila is an ultra-premium luxury white spirit that’s delicious on the rocks, and mixes flawlessly into most any cocktail. From the highest-quality Weber Blue agave plants grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, to the centuries-old distillation process, to the handcrafted glass bottles, Patrón is produced with unparalleled attention to detail. Imported and marketed by The Patrón Spirits Company, brands in the portfolio consist of Gran Patrón Burdeos, Gran Patrón Piedra, Gran Patrón Platinum, Patrón Silver, Patrón Reposado, Patrón Añejo, Patrón XO Cafe (coffee liqueur), Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa (coffee and chocolate liqueur), and Patrón Citrónge (extra fine orange liqueur), as well as Pyrat Caribbean rums, and Ultimat ultra-premium vodka.

La Crema ~

La Crema is widely loved for handcrafted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and new Pinot Gris. For more than 30 years, the family-owned and operated winery has focused exclusively on California’s cool-climate coastal appellations, where ocean winds and fog allow grapes to ripen slowly on the vine. Winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas continues to use boutique, time-intensive techniques to produce distinctively balanced and elegant wines. A leader in sustainable vineyard and winery practices, La Crema combines traditional farming methods with new technologies to conserve water, minimize energy use and naturally reduce pests. For more about La Crema, including pairing ideas and recipes, visit www.LaCrema.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/LaCremaWinery) or Twitter (@LaCremaWines).

Thai Dang is carrying out a simple philosophy with compelling results. He believes that the basis of any good dish is understanding the product followed by treating and caring for each ingredient individually.

His commitment to precision and attention to detail have been hallmarks of his career. In preparation for Embeya, Dang and director Attila Gyulai traveled across Asia to explore its diverse cuisines.

Their trip reinforced Dang’s desire to celebrate the best ingredients from around the world by remaining true to their flavors. He also draws inspiration from his Vietnamese upbringing and classic French training to create the inventive contemporary Asian cuisine at Embeya.

Dang began honing his culinary skills as chef de partie for award-winning chef Eric Ziebold of CityZen, a Triple A Four Diamond restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C. He then received recognition as a senior sous chef for celebrated chef Susur Lee of Zentan at The Donovan House Hotel in D.C. Dang’s knowledge of Asian-inspired cuisine was essential to the development of this seasonal menu. It was here that Dang first began combining his native Vietnamese cuisine with his traditional French training to create a modern take on Asian cuisine.

In 2009, renowned chef Laurent Gras invited Dang to join the L2O team in Chicago. Dang worked closely with chef Gras to create the menu’s seasonal, labor-intensive dishes and in 2010, helped the restaurant earn three Michelin stars. Cooking at this caliber demanded discipline and attention to detail with some of the finest ingredients the world has to offer.

Dang, then, joined the kitchen at two-star Michelin restaurant RIA and Balsan at the Elysian Hotel Chicago as chef de cuisine. His focus on clean, fresh flavors coupled with his contemporary approach to technique and presentation elevated the menus at both restaurants. In 2012, Dang left to pursue his own restaurant venture and further develop his unique cooking style.

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Silent Auction

Clock Tower Dining

A five-course dinner for 12 with wine pairings in the WoW Clock Tower.

Jenn-Air Dream Kitchen

$25,000 worth of luxury Jenn-Air appliances of your choice, six hours of design consultation services (with Jaclyn Wilke, AKBD.)

Jenn-Air Wine Cellar & Mionetto

Jenn-Air's 24" undercounter Jenn-Air Wine Cellar with LCD lighting, five roll-out racks, dual zone system and UV resistant thermal glass filled with one case of Mionetto prosecco.

Cayman Island Vacation

Four night trip to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, inclusive of air transportation on Cayman Airways, accommodations at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, on-island airport transfers, and admission for two to an attraction.

It will be valid one year from the event, blackout dates apply, and the winner is responsible for the taxes and fees.

Gladiator & Stella

One Gladiator refrigerator stocked with 1 case of Stella Artois

CS Luxury Night Out

Chef's tasting menu for 2 with wine pairings, a $300 value at The Florentine with Chris Macchia and a one night's stay at The Sofitel Hotel.