Food & Drink » Key Ingredient

Chicago chefs pay edible tribute to their culinary mentors

We asked some of the city’s top chefs to create a dish to honor a person who influenced their cooking. The exercise stirred many kitchen memories, about everyone from Rick Bayless to dear ol’ mom.

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Ben Ruiz - CHRIS HURD
  • Chris Hurd
  • Ben Ruiz

For each installment of the Reader’s regular Key Ingredient column, a local chef chooses an ingredient and challenges a fellow chef to create a dish with it. (The ingredient doesn’t have to be difficult to procure or unusual or gross, but that’s the direction most chefs go, testing their colleagues with everything from marshmallow creme to ant eggs.) Our annual Key Ingredient Cook-Off usually follows a similar format, except that we’re the ones who decide what ingredients the chefs have to cook with—until this year’s event, which was held May 18 at the Ivy Room at Tree Studios. Instead, we asked each chef to prepare something inspired by his or her culinary mentor and to tell us a little bit about that person. Most chose a chef they worked under when starting their careers, but not everyone: Blackbird’s Ryan Pfeiffer credits his first instructor at culinary school, while Kimski’s Won Kim said his cooking is most influenced by his mother.   v


CHRIS HURD
  • Chris Hurd

Diana Dávila

Mi Tocaya Antojeria

Mentor: Giuseppe Tentori


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  • Chris Hurd

Dino Tsaknis

Primehouse

Mentor: Michael Lachowicz


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  • Chris Hurd

Benjamin Lustbader

Giant

Mentor: Michel Richard


CHRIS BUDDY
  • Chris Buddy

Dan Salls

Quiote

Mentor: Rick Bayless


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  • Chris Hurd

Ryan Pfeiffer

Blackbird

Mentor: Tim Bucci


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  • Chris Hurd

Ben Ruiz

Won Fun Chinese

Mentor: Erick Williams


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  • Chris Hurd

Won Kim

Kimski

Mentor: Sun Hee Kang


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  • Chris Hurd

Sarah Rinkavage

Marisol

Mentor: Jason Hammel


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  • Chris Hurd

Evan Sumrell

The Ogden

Mentor: Ryan McCaskey


CHRIS HURD
  • Chris Hurd

Sarah Mispagel

Proxi

Mentor: Tony Galzin


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  • Chris Hurd

Rodolfo Cuadros

Carnivale

Mentor: Douglas Rodriguez


CHRIS HURD
  • Chris Hurd

Carlos Gaytan

Mexique

Mentor: Mexico

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