“A MagnIfIcent Taste” CulInary Event
Dont’ miss the haute outdoor foodie event of the summer, A Magnificent Taste. Each summer, we celebrate the culinary delights of the district with delicious bites from Chicago’s best restaurants and celebrity chefs, surrounded by one of Chicago’s most iconic settings – The Magnificent Mile®. A portion of the proceeds benefit Common Threads, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to educating children from low-income families on the importance of nutrition.
Tickets are on sale now or the return of “A Magnificent Taste” on Friday, August 22, 2014.
Purchase VIP tickets through Priceless Chicago for an exclusive reception with celebrity guest Chef Sam Talbot, plus a specialty VIP gift bag!
To view photos from last year’s event, click here!
2014 Restaurant and Chef Participants
- Chef Sam Talbot, former “Fan Favorite” on Top Chef
- 437 Rush, Chef Christian Fantoni
- Allium, Chef Stephen Wambach
- Argo Tea
- Bub City, Chef Doug Psaltis
- deca RESTAURANT + BAR, Chef Martin Knaubert
- Howells & Hood, Chef Scott Walton
- The Lobby at The Peninsula, Chef Seth Moliterno
- Magnolia Bakery
- Quartino, Chef John Coletta
- Seasons 52, Chef John State
- Sophie’s at Saks, Chef Ron Aleman
- Texas de Brazil, Chef Evandro Caregnato
- Travelle, Chef Tim Graham
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 2014 PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS:
Sam Talbot is a chef, author and television personality and was a semi-finalist on season 2 of Bravo’s acclaimed series “Top Chef”. He was voted the viewers “Fan Favorite” and was named one People Magazines “Sexiest Men Alive” in 2012.READ MORE
Sam is the former founding Executive Chef of the Surf Lodge in Montauk, NY. While at the helm it became nationally acclaimed and named one of the world's 20 Sexiest Bars and Restaurants by The Travel Channel, and a premiere dining destination of the Hamptons. He went on to open Imperial No. Nine a sustainable seafood restaurant in the Mondrian Soho Hotel in New York City. During Sam’s tenure, Imperial No. Nine received two stars from New York Magazine, a 25 rating in Zagat and was a Michelin Guide-recommended destination. He is also the author of “The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries,”(Rodale).
Sam is at the forefront of the ‘Sustainable Living’ movement, which seeks to break down the walls between the way we eat and the way we live. When conceiving dishes, Sam keeps a few simple questions in mind: What is the food? Who’s eating it? Where is it from? When? Under what circumstances? Sam’s approach to cooking is to understand how all these questions—and their answers—interconnect. His outlook on life is the same: Sam surfs, snowboards, practices yoga, travels widely and moves easily among the worlds of food, fashion, entertainment and sports. Diagnosed at a young age with juvenile diabetes, Sam lives every hour with a profound understanding of the impact of food on life and life on food. That understanding has become a uniquely driving force for his cooking style and recipes.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Sam began his culinary training at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, SC. At culinary school, Sam worked at the acclaimed J. Bistro in Charleston where he worked under chef /owner James Burns, who he considers his mentor. At age 24, Sam moved to New York City to become Executive Chef at Black Duck in the Gramercy area of Manhattan. Two years later, he opened Williamsburg Café and was nominated best brunch restaurant in Brooklyn by the New York Post. Sam’s inventive dishes have garnered praise from The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Daily News, New York Post, Zink Magazine, Time Out New York and Forbes Magazine.
Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12 has given Sam a great perspective on the value of life and has led to his work with numerous organizations including the JDRF, NRDC, Waves For Water, Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch Program and others close to his heart. After super storm Sandy hit Sam helped found the ‘Rockaway Lunch Truck’ that provided fresh hot food to
the community and those displaced in hardest hit areas of The Rockaway’s. Most
recently Sam launched a partnership with Barnabas and Beth Israel children’s
hospital to campaign for children’s wellness.
Christian Fantoni, 437 Rush
Chef Fantoni was the son of the cook for an Italian prince in Bergamo, Italy, and developed a passion for Northern Italian cuisine at an early age with his culinary fairytale upbringing. It was there that he learned the importance of creating a complete dining experience in addition to preparing mouthwatering food. “I came to the United States from Italy without speaking a word of English. I learned not only the language but also how to translate my traditional recipes for the American palate. I wanted to honor the traditions and prestige of the American restaurant scene but stay true to my country’s cuisine,” says Chef Fantoni.READ MORE
After graduating from the Technical and Professional Culinary School in Bergamo, Italy, Chef Fantoni moved to New York City in 1994 where he worked in esteemed kitchens like Le Bernadin and Le Cirque. He then served as executive chef at Fiamma Osteria in 2007 where his revamped menu is accredited with maintaining the restaurant’s Michelin star rating. From his experiences, Chef Fantoni learned the art of precision at Le Bernadin and developed a passion for guest hospitality at Le Cirque where he immersed himself in customer service from learning customers by name to finding a spiny lobster for a special request by actor Robert De Niro. Chef Fantoni’s career highlights include cooking at the James Beard House and helping to host holiday parties with celebrity chef Mario Batali. After moving to Chicago in 2008, Chef Fantoni served as executive chef for Bice Restaurant and gained corporate chef experience with Portillo Restaurant Group.
Stephen Wambach, Allium
Wambach brings more than a decade of experience in the culinary scene to Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. His breadth of knowledge is seen in the farm-to-table menu concept through his focus on seasonality, eye for quality ingredients and thoughtful approach to plating, all hallmarks of this well-traveled chef’s signature style. The Manhattan native began at an early age, stocking shelves at his grandparents’ country store. His first role in a professional kitchen was in 1999 as tournant at Manhattan’s 44 at the Royalton Hotel. Wambach relocated to Chicago in 2009 to open Epic, earning the restaurant numerous accolades. Most recently, in 2013, Wambach joined Michelin-starred Restaurant Marc Forgione as chef de cuisine of the contemporary American restaurant in New York.
Doug Psaltis, Bub City
Having earned three stars from The New York Times and a Michelin star while running the kitchen of New York’s Country restaurant, Doug Psaltis is one of the most accomplished, rising star chefs in America today. He has worked with the world’s most lauded chefs and in some of the country’s most prestigious kitchens. Today, he is part of the nationally renowned Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) and serves as Chef Partner of some of the company’s newest ventures – RPM Italian – in conjunction with celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic, and RJ, Jerrod and Molly Melman, and Bub City, also in partnership with the Melman siblings.READ MORE
Psaltis began his culinary career working in his grandfather’s diner at the age of 10 and eventually landed a job at Panama Hatties, one of Long Island’s most acclaimed restaurants. Having gained an affinity for haute cuisine, Psaltis spent many of his days off staging in Manhattan kitchens, eager to learn as much as possible. He caught the attention of Wayne Nish, Chef/Owner of March restaurant, who offered him a full-time position in the mid-1990’s. Psaltis learned a methodical approach to cooking from Nish, who instructed him to think through the composition of a dish before ever putting a pan to fire. In February 2012, Psaltis opened the much-anticipated RPM Italian, presenting a menu that is Italian in spirit and modern in style. The restaurant, located in Chicago’s vibrant River North neighborhood, offers a variety of house made pastas, hot and cold antipasti, signature cichetti or “small bites,” as well as salads, fish and prime steaks. Shortly thereafter, in December 2012, Psaltis opened country bar and restaurant Bub City, also located in River North, serving up authentic barbeque fare alongside the best of whiskey and country music. In 2013, Psaltis opened neighborhood ramen shop, Ramen-san. Psaltis’ latest project is RPM Steak, which opened to rave reviews this July.
Martin Knaubert, deca RESTAURANT+BAR
The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (160 E. Pearson St.) is excited to introduce Martin Knaubert as their new Executive Chef beginning this summer. Knaubert is certainly not a newcomer to the culinary scene. Born and raised in Saarlouis, Germany, Knaubert spent much of his childhood experimenting with food, so it was no wonder that his life took a culinary path. Now, he is gracing the kitchen of The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel) with his expertise as the Executive Chef. The Ritz-Carlton Chicago will be his 8th hotel and 4th assignment as Executive Chef with Four Seasons properties. Chef Knaubert hopes to bring his diverse experience to the city of Chicago. The perspective he has on food and the culinary arts is unlike any other. He has been able to gain this perspective through his extensive experience and looks forward to bringing his unique taste to the city of Chicago. Even with this gained expertise, Knaubert knows that culinary taste can sometimes be lost in translation and these talents do not always travel from one destination to the other. Chef Knaubert knows that Chicago has its own unique taste and he looks forward to discovering it. “I am here to be part of a community that loves good food and is proud of their produce,” Chef Knaubert states. He continues by saying, “My role here is to contribute to the culinary experience of making people feel good and create a sense of belonging.”
Scott Walton, Howells & Hood
Scott Walton serves as executive chef of Howells & Hood, implementing his naturally green thumb and farm-to-table ethos with great aplomb at the restaurant on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Freshness, local sourcing, and simplicity are paramount for the chef, who has established enduring relationships with nearby farmers to ensure Howells & Hood’s cuisine is as vibrant and wholesome as possible. “Simplicity can never be overstated,” he says. “Quality of ingredients combined with simple technique let the food speak for itself.”
Bobbie Lloyd, Magnolia Bakery
As part of Magnolia Bakery’s executive team, Bobbie Lloyd has played an integral role in expanding Magnolia from its original location in New York City’s West Village to its current eight locations worldwide. Most recently, Bobbie oversaw the launch of Magnolia’s first e-commerce site, now shipping a selection of baked goods nationwide. Bobbie brings her extensive expertise in managing production and operations for a variety of restaurant environments to the Magnolia team. Additionally, Bobbie brings the homemade essence of Magnolia Bakery to customers through the creation of new recipes and perfection of old classic American dessert favorites.
John Colette, Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar
John Coletta, a first generation Italian-American, is a chef, restaurateur, author and respected veteran in the Chicago and International culinary communities. As Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, John preserves the authenticity of regional Italian cuisine, through honed culinary techniques and authentic Italian ingredients. The son of Italian immigrants and former owners of a neighborhood restaurant, John acquired a deep respect for food and an appreciation for La Vera Cucina Italiana at a very young age. John’s summers spent in central and southern Italy also cultivated his interest in Italian gastronomy and culture. While spending time in Italia, the concept that meals were the most important part of the day made it obvious to John what his career path would be, “It was a natural evolution for me to become a chef,” he recalls. In 2004, John embarked on a partnership with co-founders Steve Lombardo and Larry Shane to bring his vision of a classic, urban-Italian ristorante to life. John infused Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar’s seasonally driven menu with authentic regional preparations of rustic Italian recipes—many of which date back 200 years. His preparations of house-cured and aged Salumi, such as Soppressata, Salamette Pancette and Duck Prosciutto, along with cheeses made daily in-house, are a nod to John’s love and respect for La Vera Cucina Italiana. In short, with the creation of Quartino’s menu, John stayed true to the same culinary philosophy that he has held since the beginning of his career: Prepare Italian food, with Italian passion.
John State, Seasons 52
A trailblazer in fresh, seasonally inspired cooking, John State brings more than 20 years of experience to his role as Executive Chef Partner of the newest Seasons 52. His celebrated style and keen focus on guest satisfaction position him perfectly to introduce Seasons 52 to downtown Chicago. State joins the team from Seasons 52 Schaumburg, where he held the role of Executive Chef Partner for more than three years.
Ron Aleman, Sophie’s
Chef Ron Aleman, a Chicago local, comes to Sophie’s after a ten-year tenure with the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, where he oversaw Aria Restaurant and Sushi Bar as well as the Eno Wine Room. Ron left a successful career in sales to pursue his passion for cooking. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in 2002, he started cooking professionally and never looked back. He is passionate about giving back to the community and can often be found cooking at charity events in the Chicago area.
Evandro Caregnato, Texas de Brazil
Mr. Caregnato’s knowledge of restaurants, and more specifically the churrasco style of cooking, began as a teenager. He began working as grill master at the “Churrascaria Caregnato,” owned by his grand father in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
By his early twenties, Mr. Caregnato had moved beyond his experience as a grill master, and into the role of restaurant and catering entrepreneur. This venture known as Erganutri Refeicoes, located in Caxias do Sul, Brazil is still in operation today.
After gaining such fundamental first hand knowledge, Mr. Caregnato decided to continue his education, and went on to receive a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil, as well as certification from the culinary institute Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu Perugia in Umbria, Italy.
In 1997, the founding partners of Texas de Brazil, Salah Izzedin, CEO, and Salim Asrawi, COO, were visiting Brazil and stumbled upon Caregnato’s restaurant. They developed a love for the concept and an appreciation for Caregnato’s skill as an original gaucho. The trio hit it off and within days a business plan was presented. They requested his assistance to open an authentic Churrascaria in Dallas, and made a promise to bring the Gaucho tradition to the states without interfering with the preparation and the serving of the Churrasco tradition.
In 1998, the first Texas de Brazil opened its doors in the Dallas suburb of Addison, and since then, 18 other locations have opened in the U.S., as well as three international locations in Aruba, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Caregnato visits each property regularly to ensure the “authentic” Churrasco customs of Brazil are being practiced. Through it all, Izzedin and Asrawi have made good on their promise and, with the help of Caregnato, future growth includes 5 new locations in 2012 including Yonkers (NY), Salt Lake City, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Houston.
Seth Moliterno, The Lobby at The Peninsula
The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago is proud to announce Chef de Cuisine, Seth Moliterno. Chef Seth’s culinary vision for the Michelin-starred restaurant focuses on the basics: simplified ingredients with authentic tastes, served in a contemporary presentation. His culinary style can be described as modern American with a classic French influence; refined, elegant and technical. “The Peninsula Chicago has become known as a culinary leader in the city. After sampling Chef Seth’s cuisine, we believe his approach to food continues to further enhance our reputation,” notes The Peninsula Chicago’s Executive Chef, Mike Wehrle. Chef Seth and The Peninsula Chicago’s culinary team are developing enticing new menus for the restaurant. Open seven days a week, The Lobby serves breakfast, lunch, traditional Afternoon Tea and dinner daily, with brunch available on Sundays, and a delectable Chocolate Bar offered on Friday and Saturday evenings. The sun-drenched room of The Lobby provides the perfect setting for an extraordinary dining experience, with twenty-foot floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue. Live music is offered daily to provide the perfect backdrop for guests who come to enjoy Chef Seth Moliterno’s culinary creations.
Tim Graham, Travelle
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. 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, Chef Graham’s contemporary Mediterranean cuisine takes diners on a journey that explores the region’s renowned flavors—from the shores of Southern France to the spice markets in Turkey.