Sunday, April 17, 6:30 pm
Members and guests $250
816 West Armitage
For reservations or more information, please contact Molly Glover at 773.248.8949, ext.13.
We here at the James Beard Foundation are very lucky to call Charlie Trotter our dear friend. Trotter, one of the foremost chefs in American cuisine, has been impressing diners and critics with the elegant, push-the-envelope cuisine served at his eponymous restaurant for 17 years. We would need several more pages to list Trotter’s accolades, but suffice it to say that the James Beard Foundation has given him just about every award we’ve got, and Wine Spectator has called Charlie Trotter’s the Best Restaurant in the World for Wine and Food. For this event, Trotter has pulled together a group of the most talented chefs to pass through his kitchen for a Windy City soirée in our honor.
Geoff Felsenthal and Charlie Trotter have been friends since they met in the kitchen at the Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco. Felsenthal became the opening sous-chef at Charlie Trotter’s and went on to join Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group as executive chef at the opening of Vong in Chicago. He returned to Trotter’s brigade as executive chef of Trotter’s To Go, and is now a culinary instructor at the Illinois Institute of Art.
Grant Achatz is part of a new generation of chefs who are reinventing the restaurant meal. He challenges diners with interesting presentations and odd gadgets like “the antenna,” a skewer that allows diners to eat without using their hands. After graduating from the CIA, Achatz went to work with Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, spending two years there as sous-chef. As executive chef at Trio in Evanston, Illinois, he was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs of 2002. This spring, Achatz opens his own restaurant, Alinea.
These days, Homaro Cantu, who was sous-chef at Charlie Trotter’s for four years, is causing a culinary ruckus of his own at Moto in Chicago. An inventor at heart, Cantu has used lasers, inkjet printers, liquid nitrogen, and helium to create new modes of food. Some may balk at his daring, but the critics are applauding—last year, Chicago magazine named him Best New Chef.
Having worked with Ferran Adrià, Graham Elliot Bowles is another chef not content to let food merely lie sedately on its plate. In one of his dishes at Avenues, Bowles serves blood sausage with a live sea scallop. Guests drop salt on the scallop and watch it squirm before devouring it. It’s just this sort of innovation that got the attention of publications like Food & Wine, which named him one of their Best New Chefs of 2004.
David Myers is yet another Trotter alum who has been named Best New Chef by Food & Wine. Myers cooks in a fashion that closely follows the Japanese ideal of kappo, which demands the use of foods at their peak moment of freshness. After his tenure in Trotter’s kitchen, Myers moved to Reims, France, to master French technique under Gerard Boyer. He returned to the United States to work with Daniel Boulud, and is now co-chef and co-owner—with his wife, Michelle—of Sona in Los Angeles.
When Michael Mina opened a second Nob Hill at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, he handpicked Sven Mede to be the executive chef. Mede, who was born and raised in Germany, developed his skills working under Raymond Blanc at the Michelin two-star Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, outside of Oxford, England. Before moving to Nob Hill, Mede was part of Bradley Ogden’s team at his Vegas outpost.
Michael Taus put his Trotter training and CIA schooling to good use when he opened his own restaurant, Zealous, 12 years ago. There, he blends French, Indian, and Asian influences in ways that have won him three stars from the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel. Taus, who has thrown several Friends of James Beard Benefits of his own, will soon open a second restaurant, Saltaus, which will feature global cuisine.
Noriyuki Sugie started out with dreams of being a rock star, but instead found himself a different type of celebrity when Hal Rubenstein of New York magazine named him “most exciting new chef.” Having trained at Tsuji Culinary School in both Japan and France, Sugie has a knack for melding the cuisine of these countries perfectly. In addition to his stint at Charlie Trotter’s, Sugie has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world.