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Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., a fourth-generation restaurateur, is nominated for the 2014 James Beard Rising Star Chef Award. The James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on May 5th. You can also listen to our interview with the James Beard Foundation about the 2014 awards.
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. was ‘born and raised’ in Chicago’s Heaven on Seven. Put to work bussing tables for his father at age five, Jimmy learned the trade first hand while spending days at the family-owned Louisiana-style restaurant. Once realizing he shared his father’s passion for food and the restaurant industry, he decided to attend the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. While there, he worked at the critically acclaimed Al Forno restaurant, located near the university, as well as completed an internship at Emeril’s in New Orleans.
Upon graduating in 2004, Jimmy returned to Chicago to assist Gabriel Viti open Miramar Bistro in Highwood, Illinois. and then assisted Scott Harris with opening one of his Mia Francesca locations. Although raised on gumbo, Jimmy let his passion and palate guide him to more Mediterranean styles of cuisine. He soon embarked on a six-month excursion to Italy where he immersed himself in the culture, foods and wines. When he returned to the U.S., he moved to New York City and spent three and a half years working under Mario Batali at his restaurants Del Posto, Esca, and Lupa Osteria Romana.
Bringing his love for Italian food, the restaurant business and his family, Jimmy returned to Chicago in 2009 to open The Purple Pig in December of that year. Located at 500 North Michigan Avenue, the restaurant offers cheese, swine and wine, among other standout dishes, showcasing the flavors of Italy, Greece and Spain.
Content provided courtesy of Baltz & Company, Inc.
Blackbird in Chicago is honored to have two of their chefs acknowledged with James Beard Award Nominations. Chef de Cuisine David Posey is a finalist for the 2014 Rising Star Chef Award. Chef Dana Cree is a finalist for the 2014 Oustanding Pastry Chef award.
Blackbird 619 West Randolph, Chicago, IL 312.715.0708 www.blackbirdrestaurant.com
Chef David Posey’s first attempt at cooking came at the age of ten, when he began experimenting under the guidance of his mother. “I was a little chubby kid, so I wanted to learn how to make my own snacks,” he says. Growing up, the California native was drawn to the creative aspects of cooking and music, spending time in and out of school pursuing both.
With his mother’s encouragement, Posey took a kitchen job at a local restaurant during his sophomore year in high school. Although pay was minimal, Posey enjoyed theresponsibility and pressure, eventually working his way into to a full-time position. The experience was pivotal, as it cemented his interest the in culinary field.
After high school, Posey attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. His introduction to Chicago came via an externship at Trio, where Posey worked under then-Executive Chef Grant Achatz, who he credits for instilling an attention to detail. Drawn to Achatz’ boundary-pushing cuisine, Posey returned to Chicago to work at Alinea, where he held positions in pastry and as Garde Manger.
In 2007, Posey left Alinea for Blackbird. Starting as a line cook, Posey worked his way through each kitchen position, becoming Chef de Cuisine in 2011. Nominated for Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2013, Posey has come into his own as Blackbird’s Chef de Cuisine using simple farm-fresh ingredients and cutting-edge culinary technology to create a menu both highly creative and utterly approachable.
A Seattle native, Dana Cree began her culinary journey in 2000, studying at The Art Institute of Seattle. Cree first worked in the savory side of the kitchen for three years at Seattle’s Lampreia, before heeding her pastry calling. After a lengthy stage at The Fat Duck, in Bray, England, in early 2005, Cree returned to Seattle and assumed the role of Pastry Chef at Eva. There she honed her flavor-focused and detail oriented style.
Cree spent several highly influential weeks staging with Alex Stupak at WD-50, in New York. Upon returning to Seattle, she took the helm at Veil. It was there that she explored modernist technique in a fine dining setting, putting to use lessons learned at WD-50 and The Fat Duck.
When Veil closed in 2008, Cree joined the opening team at Poppy. There she continued to refine and focus her concepts, crafting exciting accessible plates, fit for the high-volume setting. Her work at Poppy earned her recognition from StarChefs, who presented her with a Rising Star award in 2009.
Cree left Seattle in 2010, and after a stage at Noma, in Copenhagen, she returned to the States to work at Alinea in Chicago. There she learned to push the boundaries of possibility. Later that year Cree found herself back in Denmark as the Pastry Chef at Kadeau restaurant, on the island of Bornholm. There she immersed herself in Baltic products, and a New Nordic minimalist style.
When Kadeau closed for the harsh Scandinavian winter, Cree returned to the States,positioning herself under the tutelage of Sherry Yard at Spago Beverly Hills. There she revisited classic techniques, and learned to foster strong relationships with area farmers.
Cree returned to Chicago in 2012, where she now draws on her broad range of experiences as the Pastry Chef at Blackbird and avec. Nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2014, her thoughtful, nuanced and resoundingly delicious desserts perfectly culminate the divergent dining experiences of both restaurants.
Content Courtesy of One Off Hospitality
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