The incoming executive chef at Tesori (65 E. Adams St., 312-786-9911) is Andrew Deuel, who just finished a stint at the Fifth Avenue Armani store’s restaurant in New York. He heard his culinary calling young, and at an unusual time. “Rainy days,” he says. “My rainy-day toy was a miniature stove that my mom brought from England. A few years later all my friends were getting chemistry sets, but my parents didn’t get me one. So I just stared at all the spices like they were a chemistry set,” he says. By age 17, he was making his own sausages.
Now 35, Deuel follows his calling to Chicago, in the space formerly occupied by Rhapsody, the long-running restaurant located behind Orchestra Hall that played its finale in July. He connected with Tesori’s management, Blue Plate Catering, through Christian Fantoni (Filini), an old friend from New York’s Le Cirque. He got the job, and now, after a few weeks of remodeling, they’re hoping to open Tesori for friends-and-family previews by the middle of the month, in time for the fall concert season.
Although the name Tesori comes from Italian, meaning “treasures,” the restaurant will serve more broadly Mediterranean food. With separate menus for the 160-seat dining room and the 60-seat bar area, Tesori will offer pizzas baked in a new oven and unite elements such as cheeses from France and sauces from Italy. “I love making raviolis and tortellinis,” he says. “Fresh pastas are a must. I love making homemade ragùs. I love acqua pazza. I love meunières.”
We will miss Rhapsody’s chef, Dean Zanella, but that kind of enthusiasm from Deuel seems to promise a strong rapport with the new concept. That is, it sounds like good chemistry.