Noah Bekosfky
at the Fairmont Hotel
200 North Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 444-9494

Biography »

Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking? What or who inspired you to become a chef?
Noah Bekofsky: I grew up in a macrobiotic household. We grew our own wheat to grind into our own flour. When I was 14 years old I started bussing.

AB: Did you attend culinary school? Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring chefs today?
NB: I went to the CIA. Yes, I would recommend culinary school to young chefs. You get out of culinary school what you put into it.

AB: Who are your mentors? What are some of the most important things you’ve learned from them?
NB: Mark Ehrler from the Loews Miami Beach Hotel for overall quality of food and his presence in the kitchen. He was very demanding. He always made the quest for the highest quality. However, he still laughed and joked. You knew what his expectations were.

AB: What is your philosophy on food and dining?
NB: Food needs to have great flavor. Dining needs to be fun, and the diner needs to have a great memory of the meal.

AB: Are there any secret or underappreciated ingredients that you especially like?
NB: I like basic herbs such as tarragon and mint – they bring out a whole different dimension. Also, avocados are totally versatile and have a subtlety that can be used in vinaigrette to add depth and fat.

AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool? Why?
NB: A wooden spoon, because so much of cooking involves stirring and tasting.

AB: Is there a culinary technique that you have either created or use in an unusual way?
NB: I enjoy slow roasting and poaching.

Noah Bekofsky
ARIA | Chicago

Thirty-four year old Noah Bekofsky began his career as a chef working tables at a restaurant at the age of 14. Realizing his comfort behind the stove, Bekofsky embarked on a 20-year adventure that led him to his most recent position as Executive Chef at Chicago’s aria restaurant at The Fairmont Hotel. Inspired by his travels and cooking experiences throughout the world, Noah’s menu at aria is both culturally inspired and comfortably American, reflecting culinary and cultural traditions that transcend any one cuisine. Bekofsky is also an active participant in the Chicago culinary and social community. His exclusive program “shop with the chef” is a summer-long education program in conjunction with Chicago’s Green City Market to educate and inform Chicago residents about local and organic purveyors. He also sits on the Chef Advisory Board of Common Threads, a not-for-profit program teaching at-risk children about tolerance and diversity through food and nutrition.


Grilled Lamb Chop Caprese Salad
Chef Noah Bekofsky of aria at The Fairmont Hotel – Chicago, IL
Adapted by

Yield: 1 Serving


    Smoked Tomato Dressing:
  • 1 smoked tomato
  • ½ egg yolk
  • 4 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 Tablespoons grape seed oil
    Caprese Salad:
  • 1 (5-ounce portion) rack of lamb
  • 4 ounces various heirloom tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 cup sunflower sprouts
  • 2 ounces buffalo mozzarella, cut into ¼-inch slices
    Sweet Basil Dressing:
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ egg yolk
  • ½ cup grape seed oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Avocado Mousse:
  • 1 ripe Haas avocado
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ cup heavy cream


For Smoked Tomato Dressing:
Smoke tomato for 45 minutes in smoker at 220° F with apple wood. Peel off the skins and place tomato in an oven-proof pan or casserole dish and cover half-way with extra virgin olive oil. Roast in the oven for another 1½ hours at 250° F. Cool smoked tomato confit to room temperature and puree with the egg yolk, salt and vinegar. Add oil in a stream and adjust seasoning.

For Caprese Salad:
Trim up the rack of lamb, removing the bones and all visible fat. Grill to medium-rare about15 minutes prior to serving the salad.

For Basil Dressing:
Place picked basil leaves in a blender with the salt and vinegar. Puree in the egg yolk and add the oil in stream. Adjust seasoning.

For Avocado Mousse:
Slice avocado in half and remove the pit. Slice the avocado flesh in the skin with tight horizontal slashes. Turn the avocado 90 degrees and repeat. Spoon the avocado into a bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt. Add the heavy cream and whisk to stiff peaks. Immediately transfer mousse to disposable pastry bag to minimize oxidation.

To Assemble and Serve:
Squeeze 4 rosettes of the avocado mousse in a diagonal line on a rectangular plate. On top of the mousse, alternate the slices of tomato, thinly sliced lamb, and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Toss the sunflower sprouts in 1 Tablespoon of the sweet basil dressing and season to taste. Scatter the dressed greens over the layers of tomato, lamb and cheese. Sauce the plate with swirls of both the sweet basil dressing and the smoked tomato dressing. Crack fresh pepper over the entire plate and serve.

Wine Pairing:
Long Meadow Ranch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2000


   Published: November 2005