The roster of notable Chicago chefs runs deep-here are 16 more and a don’t-miss signature creation of each
photography by Grant Kessler
Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshilds
Under the Radar
Six chefs whose names you might not recognize-but you love their food
Christophe David NoMI
Park Hyatt Chicago, 800 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-239-4030
As contemporary as his unbeatable location, David beefs up Maine lobster and chanterelles by adding bone marrow to a classic French sauce américaine.
Christian Eckmann Ambria
2300 N. Lincoln Park West; 773-472-5959
Under the tutelage of the great Gabino Sotelino, Eckmann’s Spanish-tinged spins such as loin of lamb with almond mojo and a braised lamb shank–filled chickpea crêpe are a shot in the arm of Lettuce’s most sedate holding.
Michael Maddox Le Titi de Paris
1015 W. Dundee Rd., Arlington Heights; 847-506-0222
Maddox, a Kendall College grad, has been in Le Titi’s hallowed kitchen since 1993, and if his tender, slow-braised Colorado lamb shank with mustard spätzle is any indication, he’s done his school proud.
Chris Nugent Les Nomades
222 E. Ontario St.; 312-649-9010
Nugent, who reportedly mastered every kitchen station by the age of 14, flexes his chops in a hallowed French setting with sautéed daurade on coriander red wine sauce and ramp mousseline.
Missy Robbins Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia
980 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-280-2750
Tony Mantuano makes no bones about it: Missy Robbins is the exec chef of his Italian gems and she gets as much credit for the Tuscan bean soup, the gnocchi, and spaghetti al faro con vongole as he does.
Ramiro Velasquez Carlos’
429 Temple Ave., Highland Park; 847-432-0770
Carlos and Debbie Nieto have long been the faces of this gem, but Velasquez’s marvels, such as pine nut–crusted turbot with edamame-wasabi purée and sea urchin cream emulsion, make the ship run.