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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BLACKBIRD

Contemporary American, 1998-

It's hard to overstate the influence Paul Kahan, Donnie Madia, and Eduard Seitan have wielded since opening the sleek Blackbird on Randolph Street 12 years ago. The most low-key restaurateurs in town are endlessly copied with each new concept, and they've maintained loyalty within their own ranks by assiduously promoting their own cooks. A significant number of others have spun off the web too.

Koren Grieveson—Avec
Next door to Blackbird, the saunalike boite has been thriving since 2003, coming back from a tragic fire last August.

Justin Large—Big Star
The Wicker Park taco joint and whiskey bar is cash only and always packed; a "rogue" food truck is on its way (see below).

Brian Huston—The Publican
This three-year-old Fulton Street gastropub is one of the restaurants that set off the trends of snout-to-tail cooking, oysters, and craft beers.

David Ford—The Violet Hour
Executive chef of the speakeasy-style cocktail lounge across the street from Big Star.

Patrick Fahy—Cafe des Architectes
Pastry chef at the French restaurant in the Sofitel Chicago.

Paul VirantVie, Perennial Virant
At both Vie, inWestern Springs, and the Boka group's Lincoln Park restaurant, Virant focuses on seasonal ingredients, pickling, and preserving, .

Mike Sheerin—Three Floyds Brewpub, the Trenchermen
Sheerin left Blackbird to open the forthcoming Trenchermen, in the meantime serving as consulting chef for Three Floyds brewpub.

Dale Levitski—Sprout
Last year Levitski and his Top Chef co-contestant, sous chef Sara Nguyen, were brought in as fixers for this Lincoln Park restaurant.

Tim Dahl—Nostrano
Two years ago the Blackbird pastry chef and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to Madison and opened this Mediterranean restaurant.

Bradford Phillips—the Pump Room
Phillips, also a veteran of Tru and NoMi, moved from LM Restaurant to the resurrected Pump Room this year.

Johnny Anderes—Telegraph Wine Bar
A former sous chef at Avec, Anderes is now executive chef at this new Logan Square wine bar.

Joe Doren—Franks 'n' Dawgs
Also a veteran of Sixteen, last year Doren moved to this Lincoln Park haute sausage emporium.

John Asbaty—Panozzo's Italian Market
Asbaty, who worked alongside Achatz at both Trio and Alinea, runs this near-south-side market featuring sandwiches and takeaway dishes.

Download the complete chef's tree here.

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