Menu Innovator Blog


Mama’s Fish House, Paia, HI (Seafood)

By Tony Lagana / July 15, 2021

Chef Perry Bateman began by working in restaurants owned by grandparents, aunts, and uncles in Maui.  He was mentored by his step-father who taught him the basics. Landing his first job at Mama’s Fish  House at 18 years old in the pantry as a sous chef, the owners quickly identified him as someone who could…

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La Condesa, Austin, TX (Latin)

By Tony Lagana / July 8, 2021

Chef Rick Lopez is a native Texan who began his culinary career in Maine. He returned to San Antonio to work at La Mansion’s Las Canarias. He then moved to New York to work in a staging position at New  York’s Café Boulud. In 2009, he returned to Texas and was sous chef at La…

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Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab, Chicago, IL (Seafood)

By Tony Lagana / July 1, 2021

Chef Justin Diglia grew up in a small Midwestern town where he learned to cook from his Italian family  members. He recognized that food was his passion and enrolled in Sullivan University where he received  a dual degree in Culinary Arts and Business Administration. Upon graduation, he moved to Louisville,  Kentucky, to work at Vincenzo’s,…

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JAX Fish House, Denver, CO (Seafood)

By Tony Lagana / June 24, 2021

A native of Denver, Chef Sheila Lucero attributes her love of cooking to her father. After gaining a degree in biology at Florida International University, she returned to Colorado to enroll at the Colorado Art Institute. She began at JAX Fish House as a line cook. In 2009, she was named Executive Chef. She is instrumental…

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latin food

George’s Ocean Terrace, La Jolla, CA (Latin)

By Tony Lagana / June 16, 2021

Chef Tre Foshee grew up in both Hawaii and California. He always knew that cooking was going to be a part of his life. He was naturally drawn to the culinary arts and excelled at it. Chef Foshee worked in numerous restaurants throughout Hawaii and California. He then settled on the Executive Chef and Partner…

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Da Marco, Houston, TX (Italian)

By Tony Lagana / June 10, 2021

Chef Marco Wiles was born in Italy and raised in the United States. As a child, he began cooking with his aunt during summers spent in northeastern Italy. He worked for several celebrated restaurants in Houston before opening DaMarco in an old house in the Montrose section of Houston. Since then, he has opened several…

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Chinois on Main, Santa Monica, CA (Asian)

By Tony Lagana / June 3, 2021

Chef Wolfgang Puck is one of the most well-known chefs in the world. With his multiple restaurants,  cookbooks, signature products, and cooking shows, he has appeared numerous times on television and in printed materials. Chinois on Main opened in 1983 and boldly introduced Asian fusion to the United  States, combining fresh California ingredients with Asian…

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Avec, Chicago, IL (Mediterranean)

By Tony Lagana / May 27, 2021

Avec opened in October 2003 as a partnership between Chef Paul Kahan, restaurateur Donnie Madia  and wine steward, Eduard Seitan. They have since opened a second location and offer national delivery  of their dishes. Chef Paul Kahan is well known throughout Chicago for his outstanding culinary feats in  11 restaurants. He grew up around food…

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Atomix, New York, NY (Asian)

By Nadja Jauregui / May 20, 2021

Chef Junghyun Park was raised in Seoul wherefrom his middle school years, he dreamed of being a chef.  While there he attended Kyung Hee University to study culinary science. After graduation, Chef Park moved to London, then Australia, to hone his culinary skills before returning to Seoul to serve as chef de cuisine at Jungsik.…

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italian cuisine

Spiaggia, Chicago, IL (Italian)

By Tony Lagana / January 27, 2021

Chef Eric Lees just took over the helm of the Spiaggia kitchen as its new Executive Chef from the former longtime Chef, Joe Flamm. Chef Lees grew up in Minnesota and has been no stranger to the fine dining culinary scene. Upon moving to Chicago, Lees worked at the famed Quince restaurant, which has contributed…

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