As the desire for “better-for-you” choices continues to increase and change in definition, your approach,as Chefs, to the foods you source and prepare for your menu must also change and reflect this growing trend.

In the past, better-for-you meant healthier in terms of lower fat, calories and sodium. While this is still relevant and important, todaythe definition far exceeds these healthy claims. Consumers are becoming more educated on where foods originate, how they’re processed, or not, and their journey from inception to plate—whether it be at home or in your operation. Healthier is linked to quality. The quality of the foods you prepare does matter. And, more and more of your customers want to know the details.

Maximize Your Menu
Suggestive selling from waitstaff is still necessary and effective. However, your menu is an essential resource, and one you can capitalize on to help successfully describe and promote your better-for-you offerings.

As patrons’ knowledge of such terms as “superfood,”“clean-labeling,” “hormone-free” and “non-GMO” is becoming more commonplace, you can take advantage of this sophisticated mindset and adapt your menu accordingly. Changing your description from“Juicy beef burger on a whole wheat bun with a side of French fries,” to “Free-range, pasture-raised, 100% beef enclosed in a toasted, gluten free bun and served alongside locally sourced organic sweet potato fries,” sounds more appealing and not only identifies the attributes of the foods, but confirms you care about the quality of the food served to your patrons.As Chefs, the suppliers you partner with reflect the personality and integrity of your operation.

Farm-Raised To Plate, Perfection
Made in the USA. Locally grown. Locally sourced. However you state it, where your food comes from matters. At Clear Springs Foods, our uncompromised dedication to quality and total vertical integration assures you the finest rainbow trout available, from farm to plate. We maintain control over every phase of production, ensuring complete transparency and outstanding consistency.

Not only do we pride ourselves on our sustainable practices in both our Idaho and Chilean farms, we’re also excited to provide you with a versatile protein you can feel good about promoting on your menu. Clear Springs® Rainbow Trout Fillets provide that perfect, sustainable foundation for creating an endless array of menu ideas. They’re 100% boneless for ultimate convenience and available in natural fillet and butterfly style for application flexibility. With its delicate, mild taste and tender texture, rainbow trout accents the flavors of marinades, sauces and seasonings – making it an extremely versatile, healthy protein you can be proud to serve. Visit for recipes and more. 

The long winter is finally over, and Maine New Shell Lobsters are here. Just in time for National Lobster Day.

Maine is home to some of the world’s most delicious lobster, and the beginning of the harvest season is well underway. To celebrate National Lobster day today, we've gathered some information pertinent for lobster enthusiasts.
 Typically lasting from June to November, this is a unique time for locals. Just prior to peak harvest season, lobsters in the cold, pristine waters of Maine shed their old shells and grow new ones, resulting in Maine New Shell Lobster—one of the sweetest, most tender lobster available on the market.

The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC) has launched a new campaign to let us in on this seasonal delicacy. With intentions of celebrating the unparalleled flavor brought by New Shells, the program offers creative ways chefs are preparing Maine lobster on their menus.
They want everyone to celebrate the Maine Lobster season. “We are excited to introduce people around the country to New Shells and the amazing story our lobstermen have to tell,” says Matt Jacobson, executive director of MLMC.
People are increasingly interested in the provenance of their food and care about issues like environmental sustainability—something the Maine Lobster industry has been at the forefront of for decades. It has a long history of sustainability and traceability practices deeply rooted within a close-knit group of multigenerational family lobstermen. They have self-regulated their industry and practiced the same responsible fishing practices for more than 100 years. “We’ve been doing it like this forever,” says Jacobson. “in 1879, the first self-policing regulation about sustainability occurred in Maine Lobster. They threw back the big ones to breed more and threw back the little ones because they’re not big enough yet.”  Lobster fishermen take pride in the quality of their product and do all they can to protect the marine environment that provides their livelihood.
A dish that continues to become more and more popular is the lobster roll, which is being served up everywhere from high-end restaurants to fast casual chains and food trucks. Luke Holden, owner of Luke’s Lobster and board member of the MLMC, has recently opened his latest location in Chicago this past May; Pret A Manger, a quick-serve restaurant will offer Maine Lobster Rolls at all U.S. locations this summer; and they’re even being served in the U.S. pavilion at the food-themed Expo Milano 2015, forever cementing it as an iconic American dish.
If you want a little more information on New Maine Lobster, check out the infographics and recipe below; and we hope you find yourself enjoying some of the delectable delicacy today.

Linguine with Chive and Tomato
Adapted from: For Cod and Country by Barton Seaver
Serves 4
4 1-pound Maine New Shell Lobsters 
6 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound linguine
Chopped fresh chives for garnish
Fill the largest pot you have with at least 1 gallon of water and bring to a boil. Put the lobsters, two at a time, headfirst into the water. (Be sure to do it this way! If you put them in tail first, they will snap it back as they hit the water and could splash boiling water right into your face.) Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. This is just enough time to dispatch the lobster and firm up the meat inside the shell. With tongs, transfer the lobsters from the water to a colander to cool. Cook the two remaining lobsters in the same way.
Do not discard the cooking water.
Remove the lobster meat from the tail and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Remove the claw meat from the shell and reserve.
Combine the tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, and 1 cup of the lobster cooking water in a medium saucepan. Season generously with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down and the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add a good amount of salt to the lobster cooking water and cook the linguine, using the timing specified on the package. When the pasta is 1 minute from done, strain off all but 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the tomato sauce and continue to cook the pasta for another minute, until it has absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from the heat and toss in the chopped lobster tail meat and the cooked claws. Toss to combine.


 Creating a synergy between fueling
long-distance cycling chefs and children in need, 
Chef Jason Roberts and No Kid Hungry are hitting the trail.

A frequenter of the bucket list—though not often crossed off—cross-country or long distance cycling has a certain attraction to it, right? Picking up a new set of wheels comes with unfamiliar goals, and for most, an even longer list of benefits. Maybe it’s the sense of clarity that can be found on the open road or a new-found friendliness and camaraderie of those pedaling the pavement for a cause. For those who ride and train through sweat and pain—oh, and also rain, wind, mountains and Mother Nature’s unpredictability—it’s a self-fulfilling accomplishment sometimes unmatched.

For the chefs biking the 300 miles for Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry, now in its second year, maybe it’s the calm away from the bustling pans and kitchen hours that allows them to pedal out the miles and push through. Whatever the emotional benefits, physical struggles or resistance undergone, the understanding that every mile is traveled for a hungry child is one that each pedaling chef shares.

Chefs Cycle brings restaurant industry professionals together on two multi-city courses in a 300 mile, three-day bike ride that raises funds and awareness for No Kid Hungry, who provides nutritious meals to hungry kids who would otherwise go without. 

Hunger. It's a reality so far from non-existent in this country. And if there’s an image even further from emblematic of this industry, it’s an empty plate.

“That’s one of the hardest things in the trade—we’re consistently tasting and trying dishes and you’re always surrounded by food, but how is it that kids are going hungry?” says Chef Jason Roberts, an ardent supporter of No Kid Hungry. After connecting with Co-Founder Debbie Shore about 15 months ago, Chef Roberts rolled out the concept of a bike ride. A few months later he’s riding from New York to D.C. with a group of chefs for the first Chefs Cycle event. They raised just about $25,000 with that ride, and today, with nearly 50 chefs involved, Chefs Cycle has brought in upward of $226,162—about the equivalent of 2.2 million meals.

Two rides will take place down each coast this June—one routed from New York City to Washington D.C. June 7-9 and the other from Santa Barbara to San Diego June 14-16.

“The bike thing makes sense—I’m exercising; I’m meditating; I get all my thoughts down,” he says. “I wanted this great synergy between the bike ride and chefs cooking and fueling themselves while being able to peddle this message out.”

It’s a message about a problem, about the solution, and about the impact one chef, one person, and two wheels can make. One in 5 children in the United States does not get the food he or she needs. Childhood hunger takes a toll on health and development, and beyond that, has a profound, perpetual impact on each one’s futuresbut let us add that it's preventable.

“It’s why we pedal; it’s the steps we take,” says Chef Roberts.  “It’s just something that seems ridiculous—I never remember as a kid being hungry or choosing between the quality or quantity of food. So we’re personally engaging in this cause. We’re getting closer.”

The numbers are shocking when put in perspective—16.2 million children live in households that lack the means to get enough food on a regular basis. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.

Chefs and restaurants have been some of the most fervent supporters, magnifying the voice of hunger in America. As an avid advocate for health, nutrition, waste management and conscious eating, Chef Roberts’ effort with Chefs Cycle and No Kid Hungry has a two prong effect. “It’s one thing to raise money and awareness and give kids food—but it’s what we’re giving them.” he says. “How are these great building blocks to a better future? I’ve thought long and hard about this.”

Once upon a time, Cody and Cassidy, through lemonade stands and water sales, raised $250 for Chef Roberts and No Kid Hungry. Their grandmother, an acquaintance of his, matched their funds and brought the two to New York to personally deliver the check. “We raised the money for you, Chef Jason,” said the 7-year-old Cassidy. “Because 90 percent of the food we eat comes from donations. And we rely on school lunches.” His jaw dropped, his self humbled. This thoughtful young girl could show so much maturity working to ensure her peers had more access to what she did not.

“When you see these chefs cycling in their element; and they’re smiling and they’re happy and they’re engaging and doing this for others, there’s nothing more rewarding,” he says.

When I asked Chef Roberts what hit home the most for him when taking part in Chefs Cycle, without the skip of a beat he said community. From avid cyclists to those who trained for the first time 6 months ago, the chefs who participate in this ride reveal a sense of self-reliance that’s built and nurtured and sustained by this group. Chefs Cycle takes you out of the hospitality industry box and into something bigger.

“You strip down to a bare minimum when you give yourself like this,” he says. “No amount of foie gras truffles or any exotic food that might be cool at the time is going to fire away the need and the love and the reward from giving back like this.”

For those who can’t get away to ride this year, just one dollar can help a child access ten meals. Consider supporting a chef on the ride by donating or visiting No Kid Hungry to see how your restaurant can impact our future generations. Passion drives this foodservice industry—we challenge you to share your strengths and your passion to feed others and join #TeamNKH to fight and eradicate childhood hunger. 
If it’s culture at the heart of a sundry, sprawling dining scene that you crave, then Chicago’s got you covered. From Randolph Street mainstays and sun-drenched rooftops to hidden neighborhood gems and buzzed-about springtime openings, this fair city’s culinary community is embraced across the country. With celebrity chefs and industry vets descending on the Windy City this weekend for the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, the vibrant food culture will no doubt be celebrated. But where are these culinary luminaries eating while they’re in town?

 We caught up with a few to find out where they’ll be getting their grub on.

Barton Seaver
“I won't be in Chicago long this time around, so I won't get to visit as many restaurants as I’d like to.  But Mercat by Jose Garces is probably going to be my dinner of choice. I always try to get a drink at RitzCarlton Water Tower where I did my culinary externship. And on the way out of town, Tortas Frontera at O'Hare—I like layovers in Chicago just for this reason.

Maneet Chauhan

Jeff Mauro

“I live here, so I’ll be dining at my house in Elmwood Park—and maybe Johnnie’s Beef for a Combo.  But currently, my favorite restaurants in the city are BokaMomotaroBohemian HouseGaetanos in Forest Park, and Katy’s Dumpling House.”

Robert Irvine
“Rarely do I have much time to enjoy the Windy City, but if I get a chance I always try to visit local favorites or the establishments of chefs I’ve had a chance to meet at other events.”

Geoffrey Zakarian

Pat Neely
Big Bricks barbecue, and Michael Jordan’s—because I’m a huge fan. A great pizza place, Luella’s Southern Kitchen, and Good Stuff Eatery.”

G. Garvin
Blackbird and Japonais.”

Fabio Viviani
“Although I live in Chicago, I’ll only be in town for the NRA show and won’t have a chance to visit restaurants while I’m there. However, I heard that Siena Tavern is pretty good. And the new Prime & Provisions is opening—looking forward to checking that out… haha :-)”

Hey, we’ll always encourage a shameless Dineamic Group plug, Chef Viviani. 

With the NRA show in town, we're continuing our list of must-eat restaurants for brunch, dinner and everything in between.

By Sam Ujvary

419 W. Superior Street
Have you ever walked into a restaurant and felt an immediate sense that the interior decor is going to directly reflect the menu? River North's Kinmont knows the feeling. I walked in and noticed the evident influence of copper within the dinning room, reflecting the era from which the restaurant draws inspiration. It seamlessly blends an eye for creativity with accents reminiscent of mid-to-late 1800s hunting and fishing clubs that fostered an appreciation for nature. The space boasts some original design elementsskylights, large beams and exposed brick. Kinmont gets its name from the artisan salmon fly-fishing lure known as the Kinmont Willie. Rooted in a unique brand of Americana, the concept harkens to an era when fly fishing and hunting were prominent sources of conservation in the Midwest.
It's a sustainable seafood restaurant with an emphasis on types of fish that aren't utilized as much as traditional seafood. The menu comes from local and coast-based products sourced daily. In addition to traditional salmon, tuna, oysters, crab, lobster, shellfish and other customary seafood choices, Kinmont shines the spotlight on rough fish. Rough fish are some of the most sustainable selections available, a keystone component of the restaurant's ethos. The dining program supplements local wares with sustainably fished products sourced from both coasts, and adheres to the Monterey Bay seafood watch list, the Safe Harbor list, and the Bill Fish foundation list. Its menu includes some unfamiliar varieties such as triggerfish, cobia, and amberjack, all sourced from individual fishermen. Kinmont's menu offers a wide variety of pastas, sandwiches and other dishes from a larger host of raw seafood offerings to a take on a classic burger or new wild game proteins including pheasant and quail. 

With the NRA show in town, we're continuing our list of must-eat restaurants for brunch, dinner and everything in between.

By Sam Ujvary

401 N. Morgan Street
Being at The Brass Monkey is like traveling back in time. Upon entering the corner establishment that’s tucked away in a pocket of the Fulton Market District, you become engulfed in the 1970s.
From refined brasserie dishes to contemporary riffs on ‘70s comfort food, the 100-seat restaurant pays homage to the indulgent and idiosyncratic ethos of the period. The interior of the establishment boasts patterns and colors reminiscent of the decade that taste forgot, and it works. Small tile, velvet and the unabashed use of brass throughout the restaurant elicits a dramatic sense of nostalgia. 
While the design mimics the ‘70s, the music directly hails from what is arguably the most influential decade in rock and roll. From James Taylor to Queen, the Jackson 5 to members of the 27 club, the vinyl collection is an essential component of the restaurant’s ambiance. You have a chance to actually rummage through its vinyl collection in the record shop; a front room that doubles as a private dining space featuring more than 1,000 LPs.

There’s the décor; there’s the music; and then somewhere between Nixon and ‘Nam lies The Brass Monkey’s menu. Owner Marc Bushala explains the menu concept. “We wanted to create an experience like being at a dinner party on Warren Beatty’s yacht with Tom Jones entertaining and Julia Child cooking,” he says. And that’s precisely what they’ve done. The contemporary take on classic brasserie fare pays homage to the time of TV dinners and Tang. Cheese Balls and Baloney Sliders shine on the menu; and what would a ‘70s-inspired restaurant be without its Pork Chop & Apple Sauce. There’s literally even a TV dinner. Short rib meatloaf with mashed potatoes, creamed corn and peas served in an iconic four-part tray.

Regardless of if you actually were, or just think you should have been born in the ‘70s, The Brass Monkey evokes an instant sense of nostalgia. It’s at the corner of Morgan and Kinzie. Be there or be square.

In town for the NRA show and looking for places to wine and dine? We've got you covered with a compilation of first choices in the Second City.
By Sam Ujvary

1400 W. Randolph St.
Located in Chicago’s West Loop, bellyQ redefines Asian barbecue. Foraged from a unique partnership between the imaginative Chef Bill Kim, Cornerstone Restaurant Group and Michael Jordan, it’s an ambitious culinary adventure amplified by an interactive dining experience that’s both creative and modern. The inspired menu is brought to the public by award-winning Chef Kim who got his start in the industry at the renowned Charlie Trotter’s and Le Lan establishments. A passion for Asian cuisine previously inspired the menus of two additional restaurants under this umbrella: Urbanbelly and Belly Shack. The restaurant’s interior was designed to reflect Chef Kim’s home. It’s calm and understated and accentuates the food to give it its proper place in the spotlight. A Cornerstone Restaurant Group and architect Dwayne MacEwen collaboration, the space is filled with hibachi table grills, private party spaces and a karaoke room. BellyQ is making ramen and kimchi synonymous with brunch, paving way for a new concept when it comes to the popular pastime. The flavorful highlights include the Vietnamese Omelet and Tea Smoked Duck Benedict. Brunch is served every Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Taus Authentic
1846 W. Division St.
After a brief hiatus from his kitchen, longstanding Chicago Chef Michael Taus reemerged on the dining scene to open Taus Authentic in early 2015. The concept of bringing gourmet food into a progressive space has allowed Chef Taus to return to the root of his passion—one that was fueled long ago in the old kitchens of his family. That’s the thought that solidified the name: Taus Authentic, a tribute to the fare remains anchored in classic French techniques. The 6,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space offers a range of dishes from classic cuts of meat such as the Delmonico Ribeye or Flat Iron Beef in addition to more contemporary comfort showcased in Aunt Reba’s Fried Chicken.

I|O Godfrey
127 W. Huron St.
I|O Godfrey opened within The Godfrey Hotel Chicago in early 2014 in River North, the city’s art gallery district. The restaurant sits on the hotel’s fourth floor and features 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining and event space with sweeping views of the Chicago skyline to the south and east. With cocktails prepared by Chef Riley Huddleston, who utilizes kitchen ingredients, I|O takes pride in its Chef ’s Cocktails portion of the menu. Selections include a Chef ’s Mojito, Chef’s Margarita, Spicy Strawberry Daiquiri and I|O White Sangria among others. Perfectly rounding out the list of craft beverages and a quintessential city escape are menu items such as the Shaved Carrot Salad, succulent Lobster Salad and a delectable Ahi Tuna Tartare.

MAX’s Wine Dive
1482 N. Milwaukee Ave.
For owners Jerry and Laura Lasco, the inspiration to open MAX’s Wine Dive came after realizing that while they enjoy trying new restaurants, they prefer a more comfortable atmosphere that’s offered at local wine bars. Operating under its mantra “Fried Chicken and Champagne,” MAX’s Wine Dive is all about bringing gourmet comfort food to guests alongside a constantly curated selection of wines from around the world. The concept, which is composed of a restaurant and a wine bar that offers rarely found labels, juxtaposes an eclectic, down-to-earth style with a casual, industrial atmosphere and a top-notch food and wine program.

River Roast
315 N. LaSalle St.
With a prime location overlooking the Chicago River, River Roast offers dramatic city and water views from every seat. Cuisine by Chef and Operating Partner Tony Mantuano and Executive Chef John Hogan offers contemporary American fare featuring meat, fish and veggies roasted to perfection and carved tableside. Inventive drinks, cold-brewed cocktails and a well-crafted wine selection round out the River Roast experience. It also welcomes live blues by famed local musicians with the Blues & Brews Brunch program.

18 S. Michigan Ave.
Acanto, whose name derives from the flowery leaf used extensively in Roman architecture and is found on the façade of the historically landmarked building, is just steps from Chicago’s famed Millennium Park. The Italian cuisine is approachable and the atmosphere inviting. The establishment is a must-see when in the Windy City. From business dinners to pre-theater gatherings, it’s an ideal setting for a multitude of get-togethers. In addition to classic libations, the menu features items like a hearty Duck Egg Spaghetti and a filling Suckling Pig.

The Allis at Soho House
113 N. Green St.
Inside the West Loop hotel and members-only club, The Allis is an expansive lounge area perfectly suited for those seeking an idyllic space to engage in work, meetings, social get-togethers or pre- or post-dinner cocktails. Guests can enjoy offerings that evolve throughout the day gourmet coffee and an array of house-made pastries in the morning; salads, sandwiches, and afternoon tea by day; and delectable snacks and cocktails by night. Characteristic of the Soho House ambiance, the space itself is cozy with velvet and tufted leather couches and chairs, vintage chandeliers, custom bookcases and a stunning array of artwork by internationally renowned talent. The space is aptly named after the Allis family who owned the Chicago Belting Factory.

Chef Liz Sweeny introduces Evolve Bistro,
which opened for lunch in April.
 Evolve Bistro is a student-run restaurant at The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago. It operates under the supervision of Chef Jen Brooks with Chef Elizabeth Sweeney acting as the culinary director for a program that helps its students seamlessly transition from the classroom to kitchen. Each 12-week quarter acts as the capstone class for many students. Chef Brooks has implemented a perpetually evolving menu, changing its international cuisine theme every 2-3 weeks. Chef Brooks has recently started out with Spain, moved into Portugal, and will next move into North Africa. While this may seem aggressive, it allows student chefs to work with a number of proteins with which they might not be familiar.

Berbere Spiced Rack of Lamb with Yucca Gratin,
Carrot Cumin Harissa Salad and Harissa Honey yogurt.
The food focuses on seasonality while the program itself is leading into a sustainability mentality. The school is housed in a LEED-certified building and has recently launched its own sustainability project which includes discontinuing old chemicals and using all plant-based, biodegradable products—tasting spoons are stainless steel and passed appetizer plates are made of compostable bamboo. The bistro is the main focus of the institute’s first step into sustainability.
To celebrate the opening, The Illinois Institute of Art hosted An Evening of Pink to benefit breast cancer awareness and Susan G. Komen – Chicago. Drinks and dinner were accompanies by a silent auction and school tours to help raise money for the Susan G. Komen Chicago chapter. Two survivors shared laughter and tears through stories of how their lives were changed and their new-found insatiable hungers for life.
Fashion Design students at AI Chicago
contributed tabletop pieces to decorate the
Evening in Pink event.
The bistro is open for lunch Wednesday-Friday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and offers a small plate concept featuring a $20 3-plate lunch.

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) will celebrate women chefs and restaurateurs tomorrow at the 2015 Augie Awards leadership dinner. The event takes place at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Funds raised through ticket sales, sponsorships, and an online auction support scholarships for CIA students.

The CIA was founded by two dynamic women—Frances Roth and Katherine Angell, who opened the school to train returning World War II veterans in the culinary arts. Today, 50 percent of the college’s student population is female.

Created in tribute to famed French chef Auguste Escoffier, the Augie Awards celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of the foodservice industry's best chefs, visionaries and entrepreneurs. The 2015 recipients are:

·         Elena Arzak, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Arzak in San Sebastián, Spain.

·         Lidia Bastianich, chef, restaurateur, author, philanthropist, and television personality at New York-based Tavola Productions.

·         Dominique Crenn of San Fransisco-based Atelier Crenn. Crenn is  the first woman in America to receive two stars in the Michelin Guide.

·         Susan Feniger, chef, restaurateur, philanthropist, TV personality, author and winner of the California Restaurant Lifetime Achievement Award. She operates Border Grill, Mud Hen Tavern and others in Los Angeles.

·         Barbara Lynch, chef, restaurateur, philanthropist and author. Lynch is part of Grand Chef Relais et Châteaux, and was named Outstanding Restaurateur by the James Beard Foundation in 2014.

·         Chef and restaurateur Anne-Sophie Pic. Pic took over Maison Pic, her father’s restaurant in Valence, France, with no culinary training and gained its third Michelin star.

·         Nancy Silverton is a baker, chef, entrepreneur and educator. She was also named the James Beard Foundation’s Chef of the Year 2014. She operates Los Angeles-based Mozza Restaurant Group.