Fly on the Wall: 2011 Chicago Rising Stars Honorees Dinner at Bistronomic

by Jessica Dukes
Shannon Sturgis
May 2011

Host Chef Biographies

Chef Martial Noguier
Bistronomic – Chicago, IL

Master Sommelier Fernando Beteta
Tenzig Wine and Spirits – Chicago, IL

Pastry Chef Tim Dahl
Nostrano – Madison, WI

Chef Gene Kato
Dashi – Chicago, IL

Chef Bill Kim
Urbanbelly and Belly Shack – Chicago, IL

Chef Chris Nugent
Les Nomades – Chicago, IL

Mixologist Adam Seger
hum Botanical Spirits – Chicago, IL

Chef Giuseppe Tentori
Boka and GT Fish & Oyster – Chicago, IL

Honorees Dinner Menu

Grilled Buttermilk Blue Affinée Sandwich with Petite Frisée and Honey Truffle Butter
Chef-owner Martial Nougier of Bistronomic – Chicago, IL

Quinoa Ssäm with Australian Wagyu Beef, Tomatillo Sauce, Asian Pear-Fennel Kimchi, and Micro Thai Basil
Bill Kim of Belly Shack and Urbanbelly – Chicago, IL

Tofu with Yuzu-Marinated Petrossian Trout Roe, Scallion, and Fried Ginger
Gene Kato of Dashi – Chicago, IL

Shrimp Bruschetta: Baguette, Avocado Purée, Grapefruit, Pistachios, and Pickled Jalapeños
Chef Giuseppe Tentori of Boka and GT Fish & Oyster – Chicago, IL

Roasted Cervena Venison Loin, Beet-Horseradish Macaroon, Spanish Arbequina Olive Oil, and Nasturtiums
Chris Nugent of Les Nomades – Chicago, IL

Caramelized White Chocolate Panna Cotta, Rhubarb Consommé, Aquavit, Rye, and Spruce
Pastry Chef Tim Dahl of Nostrano – Madison, WI and Pastry Chef Bryce Caron of Custom House Tavern of Chicago, IL

Grand Cru Gruyère Reserve Macaroon, Lovage Ganache, and Buttermilk Blue Affinée Sable
Pastry Chef Tim Dahl of Nostrano – Madison, WI

Robin Roy: featuring Highland Park 12-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Homemade Maraschino Cherries
Mixologist Adam Seger of Hum Botanical Spirits – Chicago, IL

Blood and Stone featuring Highland Park 12-year and Muddled Cara Cara Oranges
Mixologist Adam Seger of Hum Botanical Spirits – Chicago, IL

Velvet Monkey: featuring Highland Park 12-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Honey Ginger Beer, and Braised Rhubarb
Mixologist Adam Seger of Hum Botanical Spirits – Chicago, IL

All wine pairings provided by Master Sommelier Fernando Beteta of Tenzing Wine and Spirits – Chicago, IL

Photo Galleries

2011 Chicago Rising Stars Honorees Dinner
Bistronomic hosted the 2011 Chicago Rising Stars Honorees Dinner

Bistronomic hosted the 2011 Chicago Rising Stars Honorees Dinner

If there’s one thing that sets the Chicago chef community apart, it’s their hearty laugh in the face of a challenge, be it the Windy City’s sub-zero winters, the bureaucratic rigmarole of opening a restaurant, or a stone-faced health inspector unfamiliar with in-house canning. No surprise then, that with a tornado watch forecast for the city, flashing lightning and pelting rain didn’t stop the 2011 class of StarChefs.com Chicago Rising Stars—or their intrepid mentors—from gathering for a late night walk around tasting in their honor at Chef Martial Noguier’s brand new modern French bistro Bistronomic.

Roasted Cervena Venison Loin, Beet-Horseradish Macaroon, Spanish Arbequina Olive Oil, and Nasturtiums by Chef Chris Nugent of Les Nomades

Chef Chris Nugent's Roasted Cervena Venison Loin, Beet-Horseradish Macaroon, Spanish Arbequina Olive Oil and Nasturtiums

The 2011 StarChefs.com Chicago Rising Stars Honorees Dinner was held late on a Sunday in the midst of the 2011 NRA Convention—one of the busiest weekends on a Chicago chef’s calendar. But Bistronomic, Chef Noguier’s self-described “dream come true,” has already been named the Best New Restaurant of 2011 by Chicago Magazine—effectively stacking the deck against both bad weather and pillow-envy. Longtime local hero Noguier and his co-hosts, 2008 Chicago Rising Stars Bill Kim, Giuseppe Tentori, Chris Nugent, and Tim Dahl and 2005 Chicago Rising Stars Gene Kato, Fernando Beteta, and Adam Seger amplified the night’s culinary wattage with specially developed dishes and wine and cocktail pairings.

Antoinette Bruno and 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Andrew Zimmerman, Chris Pandel, Stephanie Izard, and Kevin Boehm toast with Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Antoinette Bruno and 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Andrew Zimmerman, Chris Pandel, Stephanie Izard, and Kevin Boehm toast with Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Cheese paramour Chef Noguier created a Grilled Buttermilk Blue Affinée Sandwich with Petite Frisée and Honey Truffle Butter (if Chicagoans have any luck, his comforting, napkins-necessary ode to fromage will end up on the menu at Bistronomic). Chef Chris Nugent of Les Nomades generated buzz with his innovative and addictive Roasted Cervena Venison Loin, Beet-Horseradish Macaroon, Spanish Arbequina Olive Oil, and Nasturtiums. Exuding the peaceful focus of a Jedi master, Chef Bill Kim of Urbanbelly and Belly Shack wrapped slices of tender, grass-fed beef loin around baby purple radishes for his bright, mouth-watering Quinoa Ssam with Australian Wagyu Beef, Tomatillo Sauce, Asian Pear-Fennel Kimchi, and Micro Thai Basil. His wife, Artist Yvonne Kim, was on hand to help out (and looking dynamite).

2005 StarChefs.com Rising Star and Host Mixologist Adam Seger slices ginger and cara cara oranges for a Highland Park cocktail

2005 StarChefs.com Rising Star and Host Mixologist Adam Seger slices ginger and cara cara oranges for a Highland Park cocktail

Chef Gene Kato of Dashi built a landscape of a table display in sea salt, oak, quail egg, moss, and colored feathers, but the real dazzle for guests came with the flavors and textures of his Silken Tofu, Yuzu Marinated Petrossian Trout Roe, Scallion, and Fried Ginger. Across the room, Giuseppe Tentori’s team from Boka served a Shrimp Bruschetta packed with flavor and a spicy punch from pickled jalapeños.

2011 Rising Stars Stephanie Izard and Kevin Boehm, Courtney Boehm, and Chef Rusty Hamlin

2011 Rising Stars Stephanie Izard and Kevin Boehm, Courtney Boehm, and Chef Rusty Hamlin

Pastry Chef-owner Tim Dahl of Nostrano in Madison, Wisconsin, dropped into town especially for the event; together with mentee Bryce Caron of Custom House Tavern, Dahl served Caramelized White Chocolate Panna Cotta, Rhubarb Consommé, Aquavit, Rye, and Spruce, a creative combination of ingredients that lit up partakers’ palates. Dahl’s Grand Cru Gruyère Reserve Macaroon, Lovage Ganache, and Buttermilk Blue Affinée Sable was a grown up childhood snack—with the light, crunchy, and chewy macaroon, adults-only lovage, and a sable reminiscent of Goldfish crackers, with a crunchier, velveteen texture. Steelite International provided tableware for the event, which proved as hardy as it was handsome and handy—surviving a few accidental drops in the crowded dining room.

Juliana Rosales and 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Curtis Duffy

Juliana Rosales and 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Curtis Duffy

Adam Seger of hum Botanical Spirits whipped up crafty seasonal cocktails featuring Highland Park 12-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky, his own small-batch Hum spirit, and homemade rhubarb compote and maraschino cherries. Master Sommelier Fernando Beteta of Tenzing Wine and Spirits provided seductive pairings and plenty of information for those curious about the contents of their wine glasses. Nordaq Fresh—the Thomas-Keller-chosen-one among waters—worked double-time as refreshment and crystal-clear palate cleanser.

2011 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Stephanie Izard, Rob Katz, Chris Pandel, Ryan Poli, Andrew Zimmerman, and Shin Thompson

2011 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Stephanie Izard, Rob Katz, Chris Pandel, Ryan Poli, Andrew Zimmerman, and Shin Thompson

Just as the night began to wind down, Martin Daraz of Highland Park suddenly found a perch atop a table and crowed a toast peppered with witticisms from the Motherland in a storybook Scottish burr—just about charming the pants off of more than a few culinary luminaries. Even more charming was the generous dram of smoky-sweet Highland Park 18-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky, served neat, and passed around to all.

The best part of any get-together is the camaraderie that springs from a little booze and an ample amount of indulgent food. With guests on hand like Sustainability mentor Mike Lata from Fig in Charleston, the extremely likeable Chi-town restaurant-conjurer Terry Alexander, and hug-inspiring Chicago royal Jimmy Bannos Sr., there was a lot of love to go around. Luckily, 2011 Chicago Rising Star Shin Thompson was able to have his cake and eat it too—the late dinner at Bistronomic meant he could keep his reservation at Grant Achatz’s Next and not forsake the company of his fellow Rising Stars.

TLindsey Boland, Chef Andrew Zimmerman, Mentors Paul Kahan and Mentor Terry Alexander, Chef Dirk Flanigan, and Restaurateur Kevin Boehm

Lindsey Boland, Chef Andrew Zimmerman, Mentors Paul Kahan and Mentor Terry Alexander, Chef Dirk Flanigan, and Restaurateur Kevin Boehm

Chicago kitchen padre Paul Kahan was seen imparting the secrets of the universe to 2011 Chicago Rising Star Ryan Poli—or they could have been talking Bulls vs. Heat. 2011 Chicago Rising Star Restaurateur Kevin Boehm of The Boka Group joked that with the opening of 2011 Chicago Rising Star Chef Stephanie Izard’s dream diner Little Goat on the horizon (and a schedule that is seriously heating up for he and 2011 Chicago Rising Star Restaurateur partner Rob Katz) he’d recently had to be re-introduced to his children—earning him a playful shove from his wife, Courtney Boehm. New parents 2011 Chicago Rising Star Chef Andrew Zimmerman and his wife Lindsey Boland were celebrating their first night out post-newborn, weary but smiling. And sailor-tongued 2011 Rising Star Chef Dirk Flanigan held sway with stories from life and the line, one involving a newly hired sous chef and a multi-purpose dill-flavored dough that sparked guffaws and turned up the volume in the dining room.

The night ended with balmy weather in lieu of the once-looming perfect storm. But the dust hadn't settled in Chi-town. With two days left to go in the NRA restaurant show, and the 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Gala less than 24 hours away, the oasis of peace and good cheer at night’s end felt eerily similar to the eye of a Lake Michigan hurricane...