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 Moët Imperial champagne, Dark Horse Wine and Patrón specialty cocktails 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.

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The Chefs

Mindy Segal ~

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

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Mindy Segal specializes in contemporary American cuisine, placing a modern twist on traditional classics. Segal was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in the Country in 2012. Her Chicago restaurant, HotChocolate is the culmination of 25+ years of dedication to her craft. Chef Segal has appeared on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Food Network and in Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times.

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Frederico Comacchio ~

Chef Federico Comacchio is on a mission to bring true Italian food to the American dining experience. Born in Lodi, Italy,

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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.

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.

Federico’s heritage and vast culinary experience make him a real Italian ambassador at Coco Pazzo. His commitment to his culinary craft and his passion for perfection can be seen in every dish at Coco Pazzo.

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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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Tim Graham ~

Having earned four stars from the Chicago Tribune and a Michelin star while running Chicago’s TRU restaurant, Tim Graham is an acknowledged rising star in America’s culinary landscape.

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His long tenure with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) and refined culinary skill has given him the chance to work with some of the world’s best chefs. At Travelle which opened in August 2014, Chef Graham is already making his mark with his contemporary Mediterranean menu that takes diners on a journey that explores the region’s renowned flavors— from the shores of Southern France to the spice markets in Turkey. Already in its first year it has received three stars from the Chicago Tribune and been named as one of Chicago’s best new restaurants in the May 2014 issue of Chicago Magazine.

While studying biochemistry at the University of Missouri, Graham worked as a line cook at a local restaurant. The early culinary experience proved to be a turning point as he switched majors and graduated in 2000 with a degree in Food Science.

Chef Graham began his culinary career at Les Bourgeois in Rocheport, Mo. The small French bistro, attached to a winery located on the bluffs of the Missouri river, opened Graham’s eyes to his passion for the restaurant business. Intent on further pursuing his culinary aspirations, Graham enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, VT. As fate would have it, the school’s program presented Graham with the opportunity to travel to Chicago, where he completed a six-month internship at the fine- dining restaurant, TRU. Following experiences in Milwaukee and on the West Coast, Chef Graham desired the professionalism and reputation of TRU and returned to the Chicago restaurant in 2003.

Under the influence of TRU’s great chefs, Graham refined his technique and mastered all nine work stations in the kitchen. Over the next four years, he steadily climbed TRU’s ranks, holding the position of chef de cuisine before eventually being named executive chef of the Mobil Four Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant. Under Chef Graham’s leadership, TRU received four- star reviews from Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Magazine among others.

In early 2010, LEYE founder Rich Melman asked Graham to join forces with internationally-acclaimed French Chef Joho as executive chef of the bistro-style French restaurant Brasserie Jo. Later that year, when RJ and Jerrod Melman took over the Brasserie Jo space to make room for a new French concept, Graham was an instrumental member of the culinary team that was intent on reintroducing French cuisine to a whole new generation of diners. Paris Club was a large switch for Graham—cover counts were regularly 600-800 people with a large banquet space booked more often than not. Overseeing a kitchen of 55+ employees reinforced his appreciation of developing a strong management team. Since February 2011, Chicagoans and high profile celebrities alike raved about Graham’s approachable French food offered in a casual, urban setting.

Chef Graham looks forward to sharing his contemporary interpretations of Mediterranean cuisine with the opening of Travelle, stating, “I’ve always been intrigued by the notion that Mediterranean cuisine can truly be inspired by the 21 distinct countries that border the sea. With Travelle, I want our diners to experience a culinary journey that offers exciting ports of calls.”

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Ashlee Aubin-Wood ~

Most recently chef de partie at Alinea Restaurant and formerly of Home Bistro and Zealous, brings years of experience and culinary innovation to the Wood kitchen.

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His long tenure with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) and refined culinary skill has given him the chance to work with some of the world’s best chefs. At Travelle which opened in August 2014, Chef Graham is already making his mark with his contemporary Mediterranean menu that takes diners on a journey that explores the region’s renowned flavors— from the shores of Southern France to the spice markets in Turkey. Already in its first year it has received three stars from the Chicago Tribune and been named as one of Chicago’s best new restaurants in the May 2014 issue of Chicago Magazine.

Chef Aubin strongly believes that using only the freshest,

most locally available ingredients not only produces better tasting meals, but also builds a sense of collective community and responsibility. The proof is in the plates: foodies and casual diners alike will remember his dishes for their exceptional flavor, quality, and execution.

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Kevin Hickey ~

After 18 years with the Four Seasons hotel and resorts, Chef Kevin Hickey has joined the Rockit Ranch Productions team as the new Chef/Partner of Bottlefork.

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Bottlefork is a new American concept that offers locally sourced and globally inspired cuisine and cocktails and displays Chef Hickey’s penchant for big, bold flavors showcased in modern interpretations of both familiar and new American dishes.

Continuing Chef Hickey’s farm-to-table philosophy, Bottlefork will feature key collaborations with local Midwestern brewers, farmers, winemakers and more.

Previous to Rockit Ranch Productions, Chef Hickey worked for the Four Seasons hotels and resorts in California, Dublin and London before coming back to his native Chicago in 2004, where he led his team to a Michelin Star and AAA Five Diamond status.

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Duncan Biddulph ~

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,

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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.”

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Giuseppe Tentori ~

Opening GT Fish & Oyster in March 2011, Chef Giuseppe Tentori brought his award-winning cooking techniques to the masses,

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redefining the American seafood restaurant concept. The Food and Wine “Best New Chef” 2008 and James Beard Foundation “Best Chef: Great Lakes” nominee, has received critical praise for GT Fish & Oyster including three-stars from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, four-stars from Time Out Chicago, and CS Magazine’s “Chef of the Year” in 2011. In addition to GT Fish & Oyster, Tentori is the executive chef of BOKA Catering Group, a catering experience for any event that requires restaurant quality service and cuisine.

After finishing his tenure at Antica Osteria la Rampina in Milan, a 19-year-old Tentori accepted Chef Gabriel Viti’s invitation to work at his restaurant in Highland Park, Illinois. After Gabriel's, Tentori headed out west to become the sous chef at the Metropolitan in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two years later, he returned to Chicago and began working at Charlie Trotter's. Serving the last two years at this award-winning restaurant as chef de cuisine, Tentori spent a total of nine years perfecting his culinary philosophy in this famous kitchen.

In 2007, Tentori accepted the position as executive chef at BOKA Restaurant. Under his reign in the kitchen, BOKA received a Michelin-star four years in a row, making the restaurant a staple in the bustling Chicago dining scene.

This fall, Tentori will expand the GT brand, opening GT Prime, a meat-centric restaurant that will focus on steaks and other cuts of meat. Located in the River North neighborhood, Tentori will continue to carefully integrate his style at GT Prime with an emphasis on local farmers and seasonal ingredients – an innovative pairing that has become his trademark.

After gaining recognition on the sauce offerings at GT Fish & Oyster, Giuseppe began bottling them and now GT Fish & Oyster sauces can be found available for purchase in the restaurant and online at GTOyster.com. In addition to BURN and SMOLDER, Tentori will create a new line of steak sauces in the fall tied to his new restaurant opening, GT Prime.

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Ender Oktayuren ~

With over thirteen years in the business, Ender has worked his way through the many positions in a kitchen honing his skills and learning a wide variety of techniques.

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Having trained and competed with 6-time Olympic Gold Medalist Chef, Tim Bucci, Ender quickly demonstrated his unique passion for cooking and plate presentation bringing a very refined farm-to-table cooking style, flavored with French influences.

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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.

Dark Horse ~

Dark Horse Wine is an exceptionally great-tasting, bold wine without the bold price. Winemaker Beth Liston believes winemaking is a treasure hunt and is constantly experimenting with different grapes and new winemaking techniques to create exceptional wines that over-deliver on quality whiling delivering the unexpected. Dark Horse is sold at select retailers nationwide for under $10 and is available in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Big Red Blend. Follow us on Twitter @DarkHorseWine.

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

Gourmet Catering for 12

Chef Charles Webb, Founder of Avanti Gourmet Catering offering a private dinner or cocktail party for 12 (6 courses) in your private home or offsite venue of your choice. Valid Sunday-Thursday. Must be used by 11/26. Winner has the option to add on in size or scope for additional charge.

Estimated value: $3,000

Chicago Gourmet Food & Wine Package

2) tickets to Chicago Gourmet on Sunday, September 28th and one night's stay at the Sofitel Chicago Hotel and Water Tower and a dinner out at Siena Tavern.

Estimated value: $200

Weekend at Los Angeles Food & Wine

(2) weekend Passes to the 2014 Los Angeles Food & Wine on August 21-24. These passes provide 4-day access to the (5) Marquee Events - The 3 Grand Avenue Evenings and two days at the Lexus Grand Tasting. Transportation not provided.

Estimated value: $2,000

Cook Like a Chef

$300 gift certificate from Chopping Block Chicago for hands-on cooking classes. Can be used for one person or split for group lessons.

Estimated value: $300

“Black is the new Black”

To be released in November, a 36” Jenn-Air refrigerator with the industries first, Obsidian black interior and a case of Stella Artois

Estimated value: $7,300

Jenn-Air Dream Kitchen

$25,000 worth of luxury Jenn-Air appliances of your choice

Estimated value: $25,000

Clock Tower Dining

A five-course gourmet dinner for 12 with wine pairings in the Reid Murdoch Clock Tower in downtown Chicago.

Estimated value: $3,000

The Ultimate Chocolate Experience

(4) people will receive a private chocolate class with Chef Jacques Torres at his new 40,000 square foot chocolate factory in Brooklyn, NY. Guests will be given a private tour, a hands on experience in making your own chocolate figure as well as tasting chocolates. Experience will be approximately 2 hours. Transportation not included.

Estimated value: $500