Rich Melman, founder of Lettuce Entertain You and recipient of this year’s James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, with Chef/Partner Matthew Kirkley, will bring together rising star chef talent from around the country to create a dinner series at rotating-chef restaurant Intro in Chicago.
From Friday, May 1 through Saturday, May 9 (excluding May 4), this collaborative series will feature a six-course menu every night composed by James Beard Award ‘Rising Star Chef’ nominees, Intro chefs, and other visiting chef talent. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The James Beard Foundation.
‘Rising Star Chef’ Nominee, Chef & Founding Owner Ari Taymor, Alma: Ari Taymor opened Alma after working in San Francisco at flour+water, Bar Tartine, and Plate Shop, as well as La Chassagnette in Arles, France. Taymor aims to use both familiar and obscure ingredients to create dishes that will curate a unique experience for each guest.
‘Rising Star Chef’ Nominee, Chef de Cuisine Jessica Largey, Manresa: Prior to joining Manresa in 2009, Jessica Largey, a Southern California native, worked in the kitchens of Providence in Los Angeles, The Fat Duck in England, LAMILL Coffee Boutique in Los Angeles, and Bastide Restaurant in West Hollywood. Since becoming chef de cuisine in 2012, Largey has received recognition from the San Francisco Chronicle as “Rising Star Chef of 2014,” and Zagat’s “30 under 30.”
Chef/Owner Benjamin Sukle, Birch: At Birch, Sukle combines his traditional training and non-traditional experiences to craft an accessible and environmentally engaging menu that celebrates New England’s seasons. The name “Birch” comes from childhood nostalgia: Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer was something Sukle cherished growing up.
Intro Chef-in-residence, CJ Jacobson: Los Angeles-based CJ Jacobson is the first chef-in-residence at Intro. His cooking revolves around the use of local ingredients, where foraging plays a main role in the flavor profiles he creates in the kitchen. Jacobson, Executive Chef at Girasol restaurant in Studio City, California, has starred on two seasons of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and most recently won “Top Chef Duels.”
Intro Chef-in-residence, Erik Anderson: Erik Anderson is a born and bred Chicagoan, who has previously been named “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine in 2012, and also earned a James Beard Foundation Award nomination. Anderson has worked in world-renowned kitchens under culinary superstars, including Chef Thomas Keller at his three Michelin-starred restaurant, The French Laundry, as well as under Chef Doug Flicker at Auriga. Anderson plans to take all he learns during his tenure at Intro and applying it to the opening of Brut, a modern French restaurant in Minneapolis he will open with partner, Jamie Malone, in fall 2015.
Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis: Michael Laiskonis was named Creative Director of New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education in 2012. Previously Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin for eight years, his pastry philosophy manifests itself in a style of desserts that balance art and science, and contemporary ideas with classic fundamentals. Awarded Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007 by the James Beard Foundation, his work also helped the restaurant maintain three stars from the esteemed Michelin Guide, and four stars from The New York Times.