Aaron Deal, executive chef at Custom House Tavern, juggling.

28 // executive chef at Custom House Tavern
From: Morganton, North Carolina
Lives in: South Loop
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Modest Success “Accolades are great, but it’s not why I set out to do this. [Deal was a James Beard Rising Star semifinalist at his former restaurant, Tristan, in Charleston, South Carolina.] It’s not about trying to make the newspaper. People forget about that stuff the next day, so who cares? I’ve met guys who let that define who they are, and they walk around with an air about them. Life’s too short to be that way.”

Epicurean Escapist “I think sometimes the best answer to everything is: Put all the pens and papers down, turn off the computer, and fire up a sauté pan. It’s medicinal. It’s putting on some good music, popping a bottle of wine or a nice beer, cooking some food, hanging out, and forgetting about everything else.”

Browse our photo gallery of the singles below.