A chefs' family tree revisited | Food & Drink Feature | Chicago Reader

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A chefs' family tree revisited

Culinary talent that branched out from Alinea, Blackbird, the Violet Hour, Tru, and more

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On April 14, 2006, the Reader published "A Chefs' Family Tree" by Elizabeth M. Tamny. This "selective map of influence" drew direct lines from dozens of fine-dining chefs back to six key breeding grounds for the city's ever expanding galaxy of restaurants. Some, like Gordon, Trio, and Le Francais, are no more. Others, like Charlie Trotter's, Tru, Spiaggia, and the Bayless empire, continue to feed the scene (and their own expanding restaurant groups) with talent.

  • Elizabeth Tamny
At left, you see an excerpt from the original in which we've highlighted Charlie Trotter's and Trio, Henry Adaniya's groundbreaking Evanston fine-dining restaurant—a particularly fruitful source, producing Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next, the Aviary), Dale Levitski (Sprout), Michael Carlson (Schwa), and Paula Haney (Hoosier Mama Pie Company).

The restaurant industry is by nature volatile and populated by nomads, but in the half-decade since we published the tree, a handful of twigs have grown into their own verdant branches, blossoming with a younger generation of world-class chefs, pastry chefs, and mixologists. Click through to see how the tree has grown, or download the whole thing (PDF).

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