What's Cooking?


What's Cooking?

Premier Chef's Dish On What's In THEIR Kitchen!


Here are a few of Chicago's premier chef's and their take on what they absolutely can't live with without!

Abra Berens, cookbook author and chef at Granor Farm: Cast iron pan: "We end up using it for just about everything, and it's not a fancy one.

Danielle Tubbs, founder of Tubby's Taste: Rice cooker: "As I've learned to make more things in life, my rice skills have dwindled. So I'm leaving it up to the machine."

John Kessler, Chicago Magazine dining critic: Yondu vegetable umami seasoning: "I put it in everything and it makes everything taste better." 

McCullough Kelly-Willis, butcher and founder of Chicago Meat Collective: Diamond Crystal kosher salt: "I recently went on a trip to Wisconsin, and I had put it on my list of things to pack and then forgot it . . . I found it really hard to overcome." 

Mona Sang, chef and owner of Khmai Fine Dining: Mom: "I need her by my side just to guide me through. Because when I doubt, she makes sure that I don't doubt. Go with my instinct." 

Bruce Finkelman, co-owner of 16 on Center, Revival Food Hall: Peanut butter, strawberry jelly and really good bread: "I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have them every morning . . . it just makes me so happy." 

After growing up in northern Italy and spending time cooking at restaurants in Milan, now Chef Federico Comacchio brings genuine Italian cuisine to the West Loop's Gioia.

Gioia feels very Italian inside, and that's intentional. Comacchio says Americans and Italians alike tell him "you cross the door and you feel like you're in Italy" when entering the restaurant. 

Asked if one has to be Italian to be a great Italian chef, Comacchio says, "I think the answer would be yes, with the exception that if you go and have a few years of experience over there." If you're not from Italy, he adds, "you can't have the experience to grow up with an Italian mother that all weekend she's thinking about what to put on the table." 

As for what Comacchio can't live without in the kitchen: Extra virgin olive oil.

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