Chicagoans know Izard, Bayless, Kahan, and Achatz have long dominated conversations about the city’s restaurant scene, but there is a new guard of local culinary talent making their mark in a big way. In celebration of the delicious future ahead, chef de cuisine Dylan Patel of One Off Hospitality’s iconic small plates wine destinations avec/avec River North/bar avec, has gathered a group of five local rising star chefs making waves at their respective restaurants for an exclusive “Chefs to Watch Dinner” on Wednesday, March 15th at the original West Loop location.
“The next generation of chef talent in this city is incredibly exciting,” says One Off’s Executive Chef and Partner Paul Kahan. “Whether they’re working in beloved neighborhood kitchens or notable spots downtown, we’re thrilled not only to bring some of these amazing up and coming chefs to cook together for one very special evening, but to do so in support of an organization that’s also committed to fostering the future of our industry in Chicago.”
Participating chefs include:
- Dylan Patel (avec West Loop / avec River North / bar avec): Promoted to chef de cuisine of all three avec locations under the age of 30 after working his way up the avec ranks following culinary school, Patel has been named a “Top Innovator” by CS Magazine and to the 2022 “Power List” by Nation’s Restaurant News. As chef de cuisine, Patel has incorporated the familiar flavors and portfolio of spices from his Indian heritage into the restaurant’s Mediterranean-inspired fare.
- Tayler Ploshehanski (Wherewithall): Most recently announced as chef de cuisine of Wherewithall by James Beard Award-winning chef Beverly Kim, Ploshehanski formerly worked with David and Anna Posey as sous chef at Elske since its opening in 2016. During her time there, the restaurant had received the #2 spot on Bon Appetit’s “Hot List”, a MICHELIN Star, James Beard Award nominations, and a Jean Banchet Award.
- Felicia Mayden (Food Network): Lauded Chicago pastry talent who has crafted desserts at concepts including GT Fish & Oyster, Cherry Circle Room, The Bristol, and as a contestant on Food Network’s “Best Baker in America”.
- Juan Espinal (Marisol): Mexican-born chef with a culinary knack for sustainable and locally sourced cooking, guided by the goal to bring traditional Mexican flavors and practices into a modern, global context.
- Joe Baker (Boeufhaus): Chef de Cuisine of Boeufhaus, formerly of Blackbird and avec.
- Reynaldo Quinones (avec): Executive sous chef of avec West Loop, formerly a line cook at The Publican and NOLA’s Restaurant August (Gayot’s top 40 Restaurant in the United States).
As host, Patel will open up his kitchen to the guest chefs as they take diners on a storytelling journey through their respective culinary experiences with a collaborative five course dinner hosted in the restaurant’s private second floor dining room. From hamachi ceviche with marjoram and coriander vinaigrette to cod with hedgehog mushrooms, each chef will showcase a specialty course that reflects their cooking style and inspiration. Beverage pairings curated by avec’s bar team are included, and feature both cocktails and pours from the restaurant’s lauded wine list.
To continue feeding the next wave of young culinary talent in the city, a portion of the night’s proceeds will go directly toward $10,000 of scholarship funds from One Off Hospitality to be awarded this spring as two $5000 scholarships to deserving Chicago Public School recipients by way of Careers Through Culinary Arts Professionals (C-CAP), which provides culinary, job and life skills to over 20,000 middle-and-high school students across the country.
Featured Image: avec river north