Last week I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days working with the kitchen team at Graham Elliot in Chicago. Many of you may know Chef Graham Elliot as one of the judges on MasterChef. Chef was kind enough to invite me into his restaurant in Chicago to work and learn from his crew. It was a great experience, and a true pleasure.
Graham’s kitchen spoke to my heart as some sauces were stored in saucepans like this:
And other sauces are stored in containers like this:
The kitchen runs impeccably clean. In the morning, the kitchen is so clean you might think you were in a hospital. Although very little is dropped on the ground, the floors are mopped three times a day. At the end of service the cooks scrub every surface with gusto…
During service, the kitchen is nothing like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen. Nobody speaks over a conversational volume. Plates are set down quietly as orders are called out. If you make a noise that disrupts the kitchen mojo (anything louder than a hot sizzle) your kitchen mates remind you to stay quiet.
I learned a slew of information in the Kitchen at Graham Elliot– from tortellini to fluid gels and foams as well as a host of work techniques. But the biggest learning was one of pride. The pride in the kitchen and service team is contagious. Everyone is proud of the accolades that the eatery has earned and they work with a sense of responsibility to uphold that reputation.
A big thanks to Mikey, Dan, Joey, Georgia, Stephanie, Natalie, Joe, Chef Runge, Chef Saben and of course Chef Graham Elliot for having me in the kitchen. I look forward to seeing you all again on my next trip to Chicago!
Some of the dishes from the Winter Menu at Graham Elliot:
Chef Elliot’s signature “foie-lie pop”
My FAVORITE! Octopus with Chorizo
Grilled Spanish Mackrel
My Dinner date: