Rockit Ranch Productions’ Bottlefork, the Chicago-based hospitality group’s modern American kitchen serving locally sourced, globally-inspired fare at 441 N. Clark St. in River North, announced Wednesday the appointment of Nicole Ella to Executive Chef. Ella brings over 17 years of top-notch culinary experience to her new post, having previously held the position of executive sous chef under Chef Kevin Hickey at The Duck Inn, a Michelin-recognized Rockit Ranch Productions restaurant located in Bridgeport.

“Chef Ella has been an excellent colleague and friend to myself and the Rockit Ranch Productions team for many years,” says Hickey, partner and director of Food & Beverage at Bottlefork. “She has an incredible work ethic and enthusiasm for culinary excellence, and we’re excited for our guests to experience her unique, elevated twist on dishes from around the world.”

Before joining the Rockit Ranch team in 2014, Ella, a Chicago native, completed culinary courses at Illinois Institute of Art. She has previously worked for local dining establishments such as the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Chicago where she was mentored as a line cook under the instruction of Chef Kevin Hickey.

“It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to contribute my skills and passion for creating food that draws inspiration from around the globe a restaurant like Bottlefork which so deeply embraces culinary creativity,” says Ella. “I look forward building upon Chef Hickey’s original vision for the venue by offering guests new menu items that encourage comfortable exploration through dishes that are approachable, yet one-of-a-kind.”

Staying true to Bottlefork’s spirit as a place where both food and beverage play an equal role in creating the perfect dining experience, Ella’s new menu is inspired by the venue’s creative cocktail program and includes highlights such as:

Nduja Crusted Scallops—served with fava beans cooked in white wine, almonds and dried apricot

Hot Wings—seasoned with a Mezcal-based marinade and served with avocado green goddess dressing

Bourbon-Rubbed Hanger Steak—served with tobacco onions and blue cheese celeriac purée

Bottlefork is open for dinner Sunday—Thursday 5 p.m.—10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday & Saturday), late-night bites Sunday—Thursday 10 p.m. —1 a.m., and brunch Saturday—Sunday 10 a.m. —2:30 p.m. 

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