It’s a big deal to rise from line cook to executive chef at the oh-so-elegant Italian restaurant Spiaggia on the Mag Mile—and in four years, no less. It’s an even bigger deal to step out and pull off a rustic-modern interpretation of a beloved cuisine, as Sarah Grueneberg, 34, plans to do when she opens Monteverde this fall.

As chef-partner, she fully intends to have fun with Italian tradition—saltimbocca-filled cannelloni inspired by fleischnacka, an Alsatian lamb-stuffed noodle, is a nod to her German background. But Grueneberg believes some rules of a cucina to be immutable: “No aged cheese on fish, and cacio e pepe is always made with Pecorino Romano,” she says. 1020 W. Madison St.