Chef Homaro Cantu - Biography

September 2015

Chef Homaro Cantu was the son of an engineer, and a scientist at heart. Driven by insatiable curiosity and a desire to discover the endless possibilities of the invention, Cantu's enthusiasm drove him to dismantle his father’s lawnmower multiple times and chomp on $5, $10, and $20 dollar bills as a young boy. Frequently described as a “techno chef” or a “real life Willy Wonka,” he brushed off these labels and merely called himself a cook. But Cantu's aim was to shatter the rules of the dining table by introducing new technologies to the kitchen. He enticed 21st century diners to embrace unimaginable edible creations.

While some guests may have been shell-shocked by his cuisine at Moto, Cantu never lost sight of what brings us all to the table—great tasting food. Having grown up in Portland, Oregon, Cantu graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. He then worked his way up the ranks in nearly 50 kitchens on the West Coast before moving to Chicago to work at Charlie Trotter’s. Cantu spent four years there, becoming sous chef before leaving to open Moto.

Cantu died in April 2015. He transformed the notion of what a chef can be in the 21st century and forever altered the Chicago dining scene. He will continue to have an impact through the countless men and women who trained and cooked in his visionary kitchens.