Pastry Chef/Partner Gale Gand is accomplished in many areas of culinary arts. Her desserts, served at Tru and Brasserie T, have received stellar reviews, and Gale was honored as one of the Top Ten Best Pastry Chefs by Food and Wine in 1994. Gale has written several cookbooks, including American Brasserie, Butter Sugar Flour Eggs and Gale Gand's Just A Bite. In addition, Gale stars on the daily Food Network show Sweet Dreams. Gale was nominated for the Outstanding Service Award at the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony.
Star of the public television series "Lidia's Italian Table," Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is widely regarded as the "first lady" of Italian cuisine in the United States. She is the owner of the award-winning Felidia restaurant and, with her son, runs the popular theater district eatery, Becco. In 1999, Bastianich was named American Express Best Chef, New York City by the James Beard Foundation. She recently opened Lidia's Kansas City.
Chef/owner of restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, Rick Bayless has been sharing his passion for authentic Mexican food with the nation for more than 10 years. Along with wife and co-owner Deann, Rick has written four books on Mexican cooking and just recently won a James Beard Foundation Award for "Mexico One Plate at a Time". A contributing editor to Saveur magazine, Rick has written for many culinary publications as well as hosted his own cooking series on PBS. He is the chairman of Chefs Collaborative, an organization which supports environmentally sound agricultural practices, and is active in Share Our Strength, the nation's largest hunger advocacy organization.
Frontera Grill and Topolobampo
445 North Clark Street
(312) 661-1434 link to website
Kathy Cary is the chef/owner of Lilly's, a four-star restaurant celebrated for its eclectic menu that reflects Kathy's French-inspired use of traditional Kentucky ingredients with unexpected, contemporary twists. Kathy has received five invitations to the prestigious James Beard House.
“Urban sophistication” is how Chef /Owner Stephen Cole describes his bistro-style restaurant Café Allegro. The restaurant offers a contemporary, seasonal menu which transcends any one cuisine and incorporates a variety of preparation methods and flavors. Cole uses only locally grown produce. Café Allegro has been ranked number one in Kansas City since 1991 by the Zagat Restaurant Survey.
1815 West 39th Street
(816) 561-3663 link to website
Pastry Chef/Partner Gale Gand's extraordinary, artful desserts have consistently received stellar reviews at Tru. In 1994, Gand was named among the Top Ten Best Pastry Chefs by Food and Wine. Gale was the winner of the James Beard Foundation's Dolce Outstanding Pastry Chef Award for 2001. Her first cookbook, American Brasserie, was a finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Awards. Her second, Butter Sugar Flour Eggs was a James Beard nominee for Best Baking Cookbook and she has a new book, Gale Gand's Just A Bite coming out in October of 2001. Gale also stars every day on the Food Network's show, Sweet Dreams.
Executive Chef Susan Goss opened Zinfandel with her husband, Drew, in 1993. The restaurant celebrates ethnic American cooking and features an all-American wine and spirits list. Zinfandel was chosen one of Chicago’s Top 60 restaurants in 1997 and in 1999 by Chicago Magazine Great Dining. Goss is in demand at California wineries, traveling to the Golden State frequently to match her Ethnic American Cooking with a vintner’s wine.
West Town Tavern
1329 West Chicago Avenue
(312) 666-6175 link to website
Renowned chef and restaurateur Michael Kornick opened mk in November 1998 to rave reviews. Conde Nast Traveler selected it as one of “Hottest Restaurants in the World” and Esquire called mk one of the “top restaurants to open in 1999.” Kornick’s innovative contemporary American menu reflects his philosophy of using the freshest ingredients to create dishes that offer subtle flavors and new perspectives on classical preparations.
mk the restaurant
868 North Franklin Street
(312) 482-9179 link to website
Chef/Proprietor Odessa Piper opened the doors of her fine dining establishment L’Etoile in 1976. Its seasonal menus are inspired by the Midwest region, rendered with a French influence and made with local ingredients from a network of small-scale farmers. Piper is a passionate advocate of sustainable thinking and devotes time to community work and teaching. She is on the board of Chefs Collaborative 2000.
25 North Pinckney Street
(608) 251-0500 link to website
Chef/Proprietor Jimmy Schmidt’s The Rattlesnake Club is a spacious, contemporary restaurant on the river that accents his fresh, seasonal fare. In addition to creating an ever changing, sophisticated menu, Schmidt writes a weekly newspaper column, contributes to Food Arts magazine and sits on the Board of Overseers for Chefs Collaborative 2000. He is also author of several cookbooks, including Cooking for All Seasons.
The Rattlesnake Club
300 River Place
300 River Place
Kelly Schwarz is the young, talented and self-taught executive chef of V. Mertz, Omaha's premier continental restaurant and wine bar. He received the "People's Choice Award" in South Dakota's 2002 "Taste of the Nation" competition. Kelly's enthusiasm for education and innovation in the kitchen is his greatest motivation. Espousing a modern, healthier, lighter cooking style in place of rich classical cuisine, Kelly eagerly incorporates elements of Mediterranean, Asian and continental European fare to create a unique dining experience for V. Mertz guests.
1022 Howard Street
(402) 345-8980 link to website
In 1995, Chef Rick Tramonto and Pastry Chef Gale Gand opened Brasserie T to stellar reviews. The culinary team followed with high style Tru in 1999. The pair was nominated for the 1998 James Beard Award for Best Chefs in the Midwest. Their first cookbook, American Brasserie, was a finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Awards and their second, Butter Sugar Flour Eggs was a James Beard nominee for Best Baking Cookbook.
Chef Charlie Trotter is one of the most recognizable names in the culinary world and his namesake restaurant Charlie Trotter’s has established itself as one of the finest. Naturally raised meats, game birds and organic produce form the heart of Trotter’s cooking. The highest quality ingredients, European techniques and Asian minimalism are combined for a cuisine that is light and elegant. Trotter is the author of six cookbooks.