It's been over nine months since Dirk Flanigan left The Gage, but the restaurant has only now announced his replacement. Peter Coenen, who has been with The Gage since 2011 and overseen menu development and the kitchen as Chef de Cuisine since Flanigan's departure, is now its executive chef.
Coenen, who has roots in New England, has trained in France and holds a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University. To help broaden his culinary knowledge, Coenen has also traveled through Germany, Italy, England, and Spain, as well as working at The Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas and The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Blufton, SC. Before joining The Gage, he spent time at Michelin-starred BOKA restaurant as a junior sous chef.
In an interview with The Daily Meal last month, Coenen stated his early career intentions. "I was dead set on the fact that wherever I was working, whether at a hotel or free-standing restaurant, I was going to make sure that I got into a place that was Forbest 5-star rated or had Michelin stars. Even during my move to Chicago, I only applied to Michelin-rated restaurants."
Coenen is hard at work on The Gage's upcoming autumn menu. Some upcoming dishes will be pan roasted halibut (grilled okra, shitake mushrooms, Brussels sprout leaves, chorizo broth); Burgundy braised lamb ragout (goat cheese gnocchi, roasted butternut squash, gremolata); and grilled rack of elk (crispy kale, toasted almond, apple celery emulsion, quince mostarda, elk demi glace). He will also be competing in the upcoming Hamburger Hop, the pre-party for that weekend's Chicago Gourmet, on September 27.
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[Photo: The Gage]