Tom Van Lente
My years in the food industry have been a wild and wonderful ride, including positions as a cook or chef at award-winning restaurants including Landmark Bar and Grill (BoKa Restaurant Group), Westend Bar and Grill (Four Corners Tavern Group), Big Star (One Off Hospitality), TWO Restaurant and Bar, Drury Lane Theatre, White Oak Tavern & Inn and The Winchester. During that time, I worked with and learned from some amazing chefs and restaurateurs who pushed me to work hard and present guests with amazing food.
I feel honored to have been recognized as a “Rising Star Chef” by The James Beard Foundation as well as one of “30 Chefs in the Country to Watch” by Plate Magazine, 2 time nominee for the Jean Banchet Award, as well as accolades from the Michelin Guide, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Scene, Time Out Chicago, among others.
I LOVE to travel, and the most incredible restaurant experience I ever had in this country was at David Kinch’s Manresa in Los Gatos, CA.
I have been married to my incredible wife Shannon for 8 years. Shannon’s favorite dish I make for her is actually a recipe I learned from my mom when I was about 8 years old. A simple but elegant steamed mussel dish with leeks, wine and crunchy bread.
The one condiment I will never not have on hand is soy sauce because I’m addicted to it. I also use an inappropriate amount of Old Bay in our house. It’s a miracle spice.
I think if you could only own one cookbook it should be The Food Lab by Kenji Alt-Lopez because he makes restaurant food very approachable in your own home and explains why.
If I am not in the kitchen you will most likely find me on my back deck with my kids (Benny, 5 & Everyly, 2), some friends and a frosty beverage.