Chef Giuseppe Tentori of Boka - Biography

Chicago, IL

February 2011

Giuseppe Tentori grew up eating and cooking on his grandmother’s farm outside Milan, Italy, before taking a position at Antica Osteria la Rampina in Milan to further his culinary education. Tentori came to the U.S. at age 19 on an invitation from Chef Gabriel Viti of Gabriel’s in Highwood, Illinois; after learning from Viti’s French-Italian style, Tentori took a sous chef position at The Metropolitan in Salt Lake City, and two years later returned to Chicago and took a position at Trotter’s. He spent nine years at Charlie Trotter’s, two of which as chef de cuisine, before moving on to his next challenge: bringing his fine dining cuisine to a more relaxed neighborhood setting at the low-key, approachable BOKA, one of a handful of chef-driven restaurants in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

Today Tentori is creating refined, mature dishes that fit the neighborhood bill. By integrating exciting components into well-conceived and well-executed dishes, he manages to create complex dishes that excite but don’t challenge the diner. (In other words, there’s a lot going on, but after a bite it makes perfect sense.) Tentori stays away from dairy – except in his edamame mac n’ cheese and his brandade – and uses olive oil and stocks instead. He describes his dish of chamomile-crusted quail with green broccoli and Marcona almond hash, saying, “It’s an interesting flavor combination, and there’s a lot of texture and technique on the plate, but it pleases everyone; it’s not scary.”

Tentori and the owners of BOKA are opening Perennial, a seasonal American restaurant close to Chicago’s Greenmarket, later this year.