Eight people who will be running Chicago’s top kitchens of the future
Stephanie Izard Scylla 1952 N. Damen Ave.; 773-227-2995 Just 30, Izard knows seafood like an old salt, hooking a Hawaiian hebi (shortbill spearfish) to sauté and serve atop lump crab with Vidalia onion purée and grilled peaches.
Andrew Zimmerman Del Toro 1520 N. Damen Ave.; 773-252-1500 Former rock guitarist now hitting all the right chords with addictive Spanish nibbles like crispy fried chickpeas, pimientos fritos, and bite-size patatas bravas.
Alexander Cheswick May Street Market 1132 W. Grand Ave.; 312-421-5547 The guy’s only 32 and his West Town restaurant only a year old, but his Maytag blue cheesecake with a crisp pecan crust, Miner’s lettuce, and apricot ice is an instant classic.
Robert Reynaud Vivere 71 W. Monroe St.; 312-332-4040 Reynaud, a former exec chef at Biaggi’s, is mak-ing the most of his time in the big leagues with stylish, robust Italian-like risotto with crab and orecchiette with pork sausage and rapini.
Doran Payne Rhapsody 65 E. Adams St.; 312-786-9911 Payne’s got the training (Le Cordon Bleu), the résumé (Taillevent, Four Seasons), and creations that sing-like seared diver scallop risotto on a round of nori with slivers of shaved reggiano.
Fred Ramos Gioco 1312 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-939-3870 His artichoke tart with caramelized fennel and green olive emulsion proves Ramos has bloomed with wholehearted Italian after knocking around at Printer’s Row and Pili.Pili.
Aaron Browning Koda 10352 S. Western Ave.; 773-445-5632 The Beverly neighborhood finally gets the chef it deserves, and Everest veteran Browning packs them in for roasted corn and crayfish chowder and a double pork chop in oyster mushroom sauce with Parmesan grits.
Kate Neumann MK 868 N. Franklin St.; 312-482-9179 Neumann’s American dessert flavors pick up right where her mentor Mindy Segal’s left off: the “What’s Up Peanut Butter Cup?” is a peanut butter mousse with crispy milk chocolate, a peanut caramel tart, and peanut brittle.