Esmé, the Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, announced its first menu installment of 2023. Inspired by cultural stories of Latin America, Chef Jenner Tomaska draws inspiration from friends and family to capture and celebrate their memories through the love of food. Launching on March 3rd, each course will serve as a story behind a loved one’s cultural experience. The Latin America menu is one very close to Chef Jenner and co-owner/partner Katrina Bravo’s heart, as Bravo’s family is of Latin American descent and she grew up in a Latin household. The husband-and-wife-duo are honored to educate and connect with guests through their restaurant.
Guests can expect a “Lost Recipes” course inspired by Buenos Day’s Alma Mora, who founded the coffee brand to celebrate her and her husband’s Mexican heritage, and her families mole recipes featuring stuffed Quail with liver sausage seasoned with Buenos Day coffee, served with two sides of Mole, and tortillas cooked tableside. For this dish, Chef Jenner invited Alma and her mother into Esmé’s kitchen for the day to teach him how to make their family recipe.
“This exhibit is very near and dear to my heart, “ says Executive Chef Jenner Tomaska. “To spark inspiration for this menu, we invited our close friends and family into Esmé for a roundtable discussion, where I listened to them speak about their fondest memories and traditions growing up in a Latin household, and into our kitchen to cook their family recipes with me. I’m honored to be able to tell their stories and even family recipes through our food and restaurant. As a dad, I look forward to one day passing down my own traditions and recipes with my son, Roman.”
With each menu, Operations & Beverage Director Tia Barrett crafts a selection of beverage pairings to complement, while introducing new bottle and cocktail selections that further enhance the experience. Guests can also choose from three different beverage pairings: Exploratory, Classic, and Non-Alcoholic. In their commitment to local artists, Esmé is partnering with sculpturist Salvador Dominguez, who explores his Mexican American heritage through unique materials used in traditional ways, and Cecilia Beavan, whose multidisciplinary artwork includes murals, painting, drawing, and more.
A portion of the proceeds from each booking will be donated to two charitable components: No Us Without You, an organization that provides food security for the undocumented immigrants who are the backbone of the hospitality industry in the greater Los Angeles area. The Latin America menu will also benefit SACRED, a not-for-profit corporation, and 1% for the Planet Nonprofit Partner, that helps improve lives in the rural Mexican communities where heritage agave spirits are made.
Tickets are now available on Resy for reservations starting Friday, March 3rd for $235 per person on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and $265 per person Friday through Sunday.