Graham Elliot

Graham Elliot

Much has been made of the idea of the “rock star” chef, but very few have actually cooked for rock stars. That’s not the case with Graham Elliot, who has worked as the Culinary Director at Lollapalooza since 2009. A three-time James Beard Foundation award nominee, you may recognize Graham from his appearances on “Iron Chef,” “Top Chef Masters,” and for being named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2004.  

Graham is also the youngest chef in the United States to receive four stars from a major publication (The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times), and most impressively, he’s done all this before he turned 30. In 2008, Graham opened his namesake restaurant, the first “bistronomic” restaurant in Chicago, and in 2013 it received two Michelin stars. In addition to his personal success and the success of his restaurant, Graham also had the privilege of cooking for President Obama on his 49th birthday. With skills as well-established as his, it’s no surprise that the President would want Graham to do the cooking, just as it’s no surprise that he’s earned himself a place on this list.

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The “bistronomic” style of Graham’s restaurants originated in Paris. A combination of the words “bistro” and “gastronomy,” bistronomy aims to update the traditional French bistro style of cooking by incorporating elements of gastronomy. The ultimate aim of bistronomy is twofold: simplicity, and evoking emotion in those enjoying the meals.

Graham’s restaurant has taken this approach to heart. After revamping the menu in April of this year, he has revealed the new offerings that will be included on the menu going forward. The menu includes dishes such as a Slagel Farms burger with onion marmalade and brie fondue, radishes dipped in clarified butter and drizzled with honey, Amish chicken with shaved root vegetables and ramp chimichurri, filet mignon stroganoff with toasted spaetzle and truffle puree, and roasted salmon with dill spread served on a bagel chip with pickled onion. Also on the menu is Graham’s famous “deconstructed Caesar salad,” consisting of a lettuce wedge topped with a Spanish anchovy, served with a large brioche crouton stuffed with Caesar dressing.

Graham’s unique approach to cooking and his wholehearted embrace of a growing Parisian trend demonstrate his ability to constantly recalibrate his culinary style and remain a master of current trends.