2021 Rising Star Chef Damarr Brown of Virtue Restaurant

2021 Rising Star Chef Damarr Brown of Virtue Restaurant

Although he was born in Germany, Damarr Brown’s greatest food memories are from the American South. He grew up just south of Chicago, eating his grandmother’s fried chicken livers and collard greens—recipes that came straight from her Mississippi hometown. Influenced by Emeril Lagasse and Julia Child, Brown enrolled in The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. Whatever time off he had was spent travelling down south and staging in New Orleans. When Brown graduated in 2011, he prioritized externing under a Black chef. He joined Chef Erick Williams’ team at mk The Restaurant, where Brown worked through each station, while also assisting Williams at County Barbeque.

Brown left mk in 2017 to be Chef Andrew Brochu's sous at Roister, and after a two-year stint, he reunited with his original mentor, Williams, to open Virtue Restaurant. As the chef de cuisine, Brown designs a menu that incorporates the southern flavors that he grew up eating and evokes the culinary traditions passed down by his mother and grandmother.