Chef Phillip Foss of EL Ideas - Biography

Chicago, IL

September 2013

Hidden in an alleyway near Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, the 24-seat dining room of Chef Phillip Foss’s EL Ideas opens to the kitchen, where guests are encouraged to visit and mingle with the chefs. The unpretentious atmosphere is a sharp contrast to the flash, extravagance, and precision of the cooking coming out of the modern kitchen. In its first year, EL Ideas was awarded three stars by the Chicago Tribune, named “Best New Restaurant” in Chicago Magazine, and won Chicago reader’s “Favorite Restaurant of 2011.”

Foss received his formal culinary training from the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1991. He cut his teeth at venerable New York restaurants such as Le Cirque, before traveling to France to work under Chef Jacques Maximin. From there he bounced around from Chicago and Brazil to Maui, Israel, and Bermuda and then back to Chicago, always cooking at the best and learning from the brightest.

Foss’ mission at EL Ideas is to redefine fine dining, with the help of his fellow EL chef, Matt Dubois, by removing pretension and preconceptions from the dining experience. His motto is “question everything” and his decree to his guests is BYOB—he’ll take care of the food. Foss’ inventive cuisine reflects his approach to life, whims, personal standards, and vast experiences from cooking and living all over the world.