When Jared Wentworth of restaurant group 16” on Center (Dusek’s, Saint Lou’s Assembly, The Promontory) announced he was stepping back from his cheffing duties to focus on some new projects (which will include working with Heisler Hospitality to revamp the recently closed Trenchermen), some coveted kitchen space went up for grabs.
Former chef de cuisine Henry Hill nabbed the top spot in the Dusek’s kitchen and Carlos Cruz was promoted from chef de cuisine to executive chef at Saint Lou’s. Most recently, the announcement came that Andrew Graves (Alinea, Next) has stepped in to man the woodburning hearth flames at the Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave, Hyde Park).
A move to the Promontory makes sense for Graves, who most recently served as executive chef at Alpana Singh’s Evanston Mediterranean restaurant Terra & Vine, where he became well-acquainted with fire-based cooking.
“It’s definitely a unique place,” the chef says of his new employer, which also houses a live music venue. “It has local clientele, but also people from all over the world, thanks to the University of Chicago. I want to satisfy a wide range, cast a wide net,” he adds.
One of Graves’ new culinary initiatives is large-format roasts: “The other day I made lamb roulade—I took the bones out, rolled [the meat] into a cylinder, and cooked it off like that until it became a big roast.” The whole shebang feeds up to eight people.
Graves also hopes to roll out a tasting menu and offer a chef’s table experience. “I’ll do whatever comes across my mind,” he says. “I have a cook who worked for a Thai chef for a long time, so we’re playing around with some Asian dishes. I will never limit myself.”