We love a good dinner series, especially when its lineup of chefs includes rising stars in the culinary industry. It’s always nice to get in on the ground floor to savor a chef’s cuisine before getting a seat at their restaurant means a month-long waitlist. From May 1-9 (excluding May 4), Rich Melman, founder of Lettuce Entertain You and recipient of this year’s James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and Chef/Partner Matthew Kirkley will host the Rising Star Chef Dinner series at Intro restaurant.
"I have long associated Chicago with new energy and new ideas in the culinary world. Chicago has a culinary scene that is less established than cities such as New York, San Francisco or Paris. That's a great thing,” Kirkley tells JustLuxe. “There is a freedom that comes from that lack of precedence, an eagerness that is palpable in the community here. That creates a great environment for new thoughts and concepts in restaurants, there is less tradition to overcome. Hence it felt suiting for us to celebrate the James Beard Awards by hosting a great group of new talent to emphasize that freedom and willingness that I consider to be Chicago's primary culinary trait."
Diners will enjoy a six-course dinner from Intro’s chefs, visiting talents and James Beard Award Rising Star Chef nominees such as Chef de Cuisine Jessica Largey of Manresa. Largey, a Southern California native, became chef de cuisine in 2012 and has since won a number of accolades including Zagat’s “30 under 30” and Eater’s “Young Guns.” She previously worked at Providence in LA, The Fat Duck in England, LAMILL Coffee Boutique in Los Angeles, and Bastide Restaurant in West Hollywood.
Based in Los Angeles, Intro’s Chef-in-residence CJ Jacobson will also be a guest talent during the series. Guests can expect dishes using local and foraged ingredients in his cuisine. Currently the Executive Chef at Girasol restaurant, Jacobson has also been a part of two seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef and has gone on to win Top Chef Duels.
Further chefs include Rising Star Chef Nominee, Chef & Founding Owner Ari Taymor, Alma; Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis; Intro Chef-in-residence, Erik Anderson; and Chef/Owner Benjamin Sukle of Birch. Tickets range from $95-$125 per person depending on the date and chef. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The James Beard Foundation.