Chef Dean Zanella, who was not brought along for the ride when Rhapsody transitioned into Tesori, has climbed the (hook-and-)ladder to the top of another kitchen, at Chicago Firehouse (1401 S. Michigan Ave., South Loop, 312-786-1401), where he has been working since just before Thanksgiving.
Although diners know Chicago Firehouse first as a steak house, Zanella plans to introduce some “fun stuff,” in events as well as dishes. For example, Zanella will continue screening movies on Firehouse’s patio with tie-in food, such as the restaurant movie Big Night with a timpano, a dish featured in the movie, or Star Wars with a dish Zanella created for his appearance on the TBS show Dinner and a Movie: Obi-Wan Cannelloni.
Zanella has steak-house experience already on his résumé, from working the high-volume Ken’s Steakhouse in Framingham, Massachusetts, the source of the Ken’s line of salad dressings. “They had three full-time butchers when I worked there,” Zanella says. He also hopes to have a hand in pastry, using recipes he’s collected from talented sweets-makers over his food life. Sounds like all aspects of his career play into this gig. It’s—wait for it—pan-Zanella.