Chef Michael Taus of Taus Authentic - Biography

Chicago, NY

October 2014

Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Michael Taus spent a good deal of his toddlerhood watching and playing with his Italian grandmother in the kitchen. A progressive-thinking cook and baker, she nurtured the youngster’s curiosity, along with Taus’ grandfather and father— also avid home cooks— as they huddled together every week to prepare Sunday supper.

His passion for cooking already ignited, Taus got an early start to his formal training. He excelled in his high school’s culinary program, which included an on-site student-run restaurant and then went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1988. He started his career officially with stages at Quilted Giraffe, America’s Place, The River Café and Lutèce. After a six-month internship at the highly regarded Le Titi de Paris, working under Pierre Pollin, Taus landed at Charlie Trotter’s, where he remained for the next 18 months.

In that perfectionist kitchen of eight cooks, Taus gained tremendous knowledge and experience, and cites Trotter as a close mentor. From Trotter’s, he spent a year in the kitchen at Joachim Splichal’s Patina before returning to Chicago in 1991 where he served as executive chef for the Jimo Corporation overseeing three of their restaurants. Wishing to fulfill his dream of having his own restaurant, at just twenty-three, Taus opened Zealous in Elmhurst, Illinois, garnering a “Best New Restaurant” nod from Chicago magazine. In 2000, Zealous relocated downtown, and over the next thirteen years continued to receive consumer and critical acclaim.

After a brief hiatus and a few tours around the globe with his wife, Annette, Taus is returning to the restaurant game with plans to open a yet-to-be-named restaurant in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago in early 2015. And while his cooking remains rooted in classical French technique, his food will always be imbued with the love that can only come from a kitchen where everyone who enters feels like family.