John Clark, 34, and Beverly Kim, 35
At age seven, Clark landed his first job: cleaning toilets at a bowling alley near Cincinnati.
He trained in Korea and Paris, working with chefs who inspired him to do his own thing.
In 2008, he sent his résumé to Kim, who was executive chef at the now-shuttered Asian restaurant Opera, because he read that she had worked in Korea.
In junior high, Kim cooked French meals to earn extra credit in French class.
At 16, she worked with star chef Sarah Stegner for a stage in the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton.
In 2011, she was a contestant on the ninth season of Bravo’s Top Chef (she made it to the final four).
While at Opera, she interviewed Clark, but had no openings. A year later, they got married.
Ashlee Aubin, 32
Executive chef–partner, Salero
He moved to Chicago from his hometown of Flint, Michigan, to attend law school.
At the urging of his girlfriend, fellow chef Chrissy Camba, he ditched the law for food.
He spent serious time working at the three-star restaurant Zealous (sous chef) and the four-star Alinea (chef de partie).
He lives in Lincoln Square and goes to Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen all the time for “really good” smoked ham, homemade salami, and alpine sausages.
He argued against serving tapas at Salero (and won).
Joey Beato, 28
Executive chef–partner, Community Tavern
He quit his first job, at the now-closed Joey’s Brickhouse in Lake View, because the owner threw a pizza at him.
While working as a cook at Evanston’s pricey Quince at the Homestead, he spilled an entire pot of veal stock, forcing the chef to change the night’s menu.
He lives above Community Tavern: “I never really leave work anyway.”
He keeps beer in the fridge and frozen pizza in the freezer for postwork grazing. “And I always have hot sauce—Sriracha.”
He and his wife have matching panda tattoos.