Torali, The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago’s 12th-floor modern Italian steakhouse, has appointed Executive Chef Guenther Moreno to lead the restaurant’s culinary program – starting with a new menu. A Philippines native, the chef moved to Florida with his family as a young teenager, where he began to hone his passion for cooking by helping his grandmother prep and cook their Sunday family dinners. 

Moreno later enhanced his culinary skills at the Florida Culinary Institute (now Lincoln Culinary Institute) before starting his career working alongside the chefs at the five-star Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. Seeking new challenges and wanting to be exposed to different cuisines and cooking techniques, Moreno moved to the Windy City to work for The Peninsula Chicago before joining The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago team.

“It’s wonderful to work with the team at Ritz-Carlton Chicago and create a new menu at Torali,” explains Moreno. “As the seasons change, the menu will continue to evolve, focusing on the wonderful seasonal changes that we see here in the Midwest.” 

Relocating to Chicago from South Florida, where seafood takes the reins, was a huge change for the young chef.  The Midwestern region’s abundant resources of livestock, seasonal produce and cold winters served as an opportunity for Guenther to work with many of the region’s purveyors, creating sophisticated comfort food dishes for Torali guests.

To this day, Moreno’s family inspires his cooking.  His son grew a liking to different types of steak and his grandmother taught him how to cook with fire, a skill he translates into the Griglia (“grilled”) offerings on Torali’s new seasonal menu, including the Prime Tomahawk, served with truffle jus, grilled carrots, marble potatoes, roasted vegetables and housemade focaccia, and the half-rack Grilled Lamb Chops, with garlic jus, grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and summer squash. In addition, Moreno’s wife is vegan, which inspired him to create the vegetarian Vegetable Risotto, one of his signatures he’s most proud of, features roasted corn, English peas, sun-kissed tomato, mushroom, poached egg and Parmesan, which can be made vegan upon request.

Torali’s decadent dessert section features sweet modern Italian creations by Pastry Chef Toni Roberts, including Limoncello Meringue Crostata, with rhubarb jam, limoncello lemon curd, torched meringue and strawberries, and Tangerine Almond Tiramisu, made from mascarpone mousse with amaretti cookies, espresso caramel and almond praline. 

Torali is located on the 12th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, and is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and breakfast daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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