5 Chefs to Watch in Chicago

Named as Bon Appétit’s 2017 Restaurant City of the Year, Chicago is showing the world it has more to offer than hot dogs and deep dish pizza. Everywhere you look, inspiring dishes are being prepared by the most innovative chefs in the Windy City.

Keep an eye out for these notable chefs and the impact they’re having on Chicago’s thriving food scene.


Joe Frillman, Daisies

At Daisies, in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, Joe serves up a menu centered around house-made pasta and fresh vegetables. The restaurant’s produce is locally grown and picked from Joe’s brother’s farm, located just an hour north of the city.

Joe’s culinary journey began with a bite of his dad’s grilled cheese-and-tomato sandwich, and it’s taken him from culinary school at the Illinois Institute of Art to The Fat Duck in the English countryside, and a string of respected Chicago restaurants (Erba, The Bristol, Balena and Perennial Virant) along the way.


Thai Dang, HaiSous

Earlier this year, Thai and his wife Danielle opened HaiSous, a community-focused restaurant located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. He uses the traditional Vietnamese cooking technique kho to slowly simmer beef, seafood and other assorted meats before serving them up in hot bowls of flavorful Vietnamese stew.

Other traditional menu items include Vietnamese crepes, known as Bánh Xèo, and Pho soup using Thai’s mother’s recipe. If you’re looking for the popular Vietnamese sandwich Bánh Mi, swing by Cà Phê Dá, the couple’s cafe next door.


Dave Park, Hanbun

“Hidden gem” doesn’t even begin to describe what Dave Park has created within a brightly lit food court in the Chicago suburb of Westmont. At Hanbun, Dave cooks up classic Korean dishes using modern techniques.

The 27-year-old moved with his parents to the U.S. from Korea when he was 8 and later graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He’s had the chance to stage at Alinea for Grant Achatz and his team and went on to work at Takashi (which had one Michelin star until its closing), Achatz’s The Aviary and Storefront Company. Hanbun’s tasting menu reservations are booked through Spring 2018, showing the demand for his cooking won’t slow down anytime soon.      


Noah Sandoval, Oriole

Food & Wine added Noah Sandoval to its 2017 Best New Chefs list, so Chicago foodies — many of whom were already fans of Senza, his previous Michelin-starred restaurant — are closely watching this rising star. Before Oriole and Senza, Noah put in work at fine dining establishments Spring and Schwa.

With a shadowy back-alley entrance, rustic atmosphere and open kitchen, Oriole is delighting diners with 18-course experiences that express the distinct flavors of disparate regions, including Italy, Japan and Spain. Noah’s respect for origins and boundaries is opening the eyes, mouths and minds of diners with new, unexpected culinary harmonies in the West Loop of Chicago.  


Lee Ann Whippen, Southern Cut Barbecue

Lee Ann was doing amazing things at Chicago Q before she left to work on a line of frozen barbeque products for Frozen Foodies. Now the well-respected chef is back in the kitchen of Grubhub restaurant partner Southern Cut Barbecue, which hungry meat-lovers can find in downtown Chicago.

Lee Ann’s menu respects the craft of barbeque (just try a slab of her Championship Ribs for proof), but she isn’t afraid to have fun with dishes like The Mac Daddy (a grilled sandwich containing equal layers pulled pork and mac & cheese) or switch things up with a tuna tartare appetizer.


What’s Next?

Feeling inspired to take your dishes to the next level? Grubhub offers resources and features to help your restaurant stay ahead of the culinary curve.

Other helpful resources:

Chicago Restaurant Finds Success through Grubhub

Watch the video

3 Takeaways from the 2017 Restaurant Leadership Conference

Learn more