As we suspected, former N9NE Steakhouse corporate chef Michael Shrader was announced as the new executive chef of Epic following the departure of Stephen Wambach, who is currently enjoying the warmer climes of Panama.
Shrader is in the process of overhauling both the lunch and dinner menus and will introduce the new menus the first week of January with a focus on seasonality and organic ingredients when possible. "My training is rooted in classic French/Italian tradition, and I am always looking for great prouduct, simple flavors and use organic when I can," Shrader said. "And I always design all of my dishes with wine on the mind."
Shrader understands that even in this poor economy people still want to go out and get a great meal. He's designing the new menus with value in mind and will try to keep entrees under $30, at least where the higher-end fish is concerned. "We're going to [also] do some steaks and we'll have the real deal, prime meat honest cuts of Chicago beef," which he says will be pricier, but worth the money.
The new chef will also introduce a more Italian style of cooking in the kitchen. "I much prefer extra virgin olive oil to butter. I like to use a lot of citrus juices and zest and I'm really into a lot of fish and raw fish dishes," he said. "I like to eat on the lighter side and a lot of my menus will be geared toward having a couple of first courses that are light and flavorful and heatlhy and then go into entrees. I don't want to bog people down."
· Stephen Wambach Out at Epic; Hanging with Laurent Tourondel in Panama [~EChi~]
Michael Shrader [Photo: MySpace]