Chicago's Intro Announces Next Chef: Hisanobu Osaka

Chicago restaurant Intro’s Executive Chef Stephen Gillanders welcomed Chef Hisanobu Osaka (best known for his long-term affiliation with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto) as he transforms Intro into a casual, Japanese-style trattoria starting Wednesday, November 2.  This latest iteration of Intro presents the most concept-driven cuisine offered at the restaurant so far, fusing Chef Osaka’s passion for Italian-style food with his expertise of cooking with Asian and Japanese ingredients. Simply put, it is the result of a Japanese chef who loves Italian cuisine.

The menu, available à la carte, re-creates classic Italian cuisine with Asian ingredients and flavors, to be shared and experienced as one would in a cozy Italian trattoria. Diners can start with antipasti before making their way through selections of primi, mains and desserts. Culinary twists throughout the menu start with antipasti including Aracini made with sushi rice and served with Japanese pickle and tobanjyan aioli; Edamame Olives with cumin, shiso and wasabi pickle; and Tuna Pizza Japanese-style tuna sashimi on a crispy crust. Primis include pastas with noodles made from ramen dough, which Chef Osaka hand cuts and shapes in-house. Standouts include Uni Carbonara prepared tableside in a wheel of Parmigiano), and Kakuni Rigatoni with pancetta broth. Mains include Salmon Miso with a Japanese vegetable Genovese sauce and Braised Lamb Shank with creamy polenta and sansho hot sauce. Italian desserts with a Japanese spin finish the meal off, with offerings such as Matcha Panna Cotta, Yuzu Doughnuts and more.

The beverage program for Chef Osaka’s menu includes Italian-inspired cocktails using Japanese and Italian spirits and ingredients, such as the Odori, made with Nikka Japanese whisky, Campari and Carpano Antica.

Reservations for Chef Osaka’s à la carte menu, which starts November 2 and runs through mid-February 2017, are available now.

Chef Hisanobu Osaka, a native of Kagawa, Japan, graduated from Tsuji Culinary School in Osaka—Japan’s most famous culinary school—becoming a licensed chef in Japan, licensed for Fugu, and certified in cuisine Francaise. Chef Osaka’s worked for Hilton Hotel Group, well-renowned chef and Sopexa winner Mizuno san, and Seiyo Shokubo, a very successful bistro in Nagoya. Chef Osaka was then chosen to become the executive and private chef for the General Counsel of Japan in New Orleans in 1998. Chef Osaka joined Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto to work as a sous chef for his restaurants in Philadelphia and New York before going on to work with Chef Daniel Boulud at Café Boulud and Daniel in New York. Returning to Chef Morimoto’s team as corporate chef where he assisted with training and menu development at Morimoto Napa, Waikiki, Mexico and Miami, Chef Osaka was also part of the opening team for Chef Morimoto’s Canvas in New York as well as his restaurant in Chicago. Shortly after his arrival to Chicago, he joined Lettuce Entertain You as a corporate chef where he assisted in menu development with Chef Stephen Gillanders at Intro, Naoki Sushi and Wow Bao.

Intro is rotating chef concept offering an à la carte menu that introduces up-and-coming culinary talent to Chicago. 

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