Spring is in full swing and more than just the menus are changing at seven Chicago restaurants.
LINCOLN PARK — After five years as the prince of pickling and preserving at Perennial Virant, chef de cuisine Ed Sura is moving on. He is taking time to travel before returning to Chicago and seeking out his next move. Executive sous chef Marcus Rasmussen succeed him at the farm-to-table restaurant by Boka. He started at the J. Parker three-years-ago and has been moving up the ranks within Hotel Lincoln ever since.
RIVER NORTH — Top Chef season 13 contestant Angelina Bastidas has been named chef de cuisine, under executive chef Oscar Hernandez, of new dining concept Circa restaurant and lounge and outdoor terrace Upstairs at The Gwen. Bastidas makes the move to Chicago from Miami, where she worked at Bazaar by José Andrés, Tongue & Cheek and, most recently, Piripi.
WEST LOOP — After overseeing the wine program at Formento's since opening, wine director Steve Morgan is moving on next week to take a job as the Midwest Regional Manager of The Sorting Table, a global wine importer specializing in family owned estates. Previously, Morgan was in charge of the wine program at Alinea. Filling his large shoes is another adept wine expert, sommelier Jen Schmitt of Everest.
HUMBOLDT PARK — There is a new chef in the kitchen at seven-month-old Bar Marta. Executive chef Ben Ruiz has replaced Jeff Pikus. Pikus, the former Hogsalt Hospitality development chef and Alinea chef de cuisine,
left to take some time away from the culinary industry. [UPDATE: Pikus says that he did not leave to take time off, which was the explanation given by ownership. He declined to share why he left or what he's up to.]
WEST TOWN — Rob Shaner has been named executive chef at Homestead on the Roof. The well-seasoned chef has trained under chefs John Manion, Chris Pandel, and Ryan Poli before joining the The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group at West Town Bakery & Diner. Former executive chef Chris Davies is focusing his attention on the group's forthcoming concept, Steadfast.
RIVER NORTH — Evan Sheridan takes over the pasty program at Sixteen, following the departure of former executive pastry chef Aya Fukai, who left in January to join Maple & Ash. According to Chicago Magazine, his inaugural menu features a cherry cream and a coconut-ginger financier with Key lime-infused cherries, caramelized coconut, finger limes, and goat milk sherbet.
BUCKTOWN — It's not all fun and games at WhirlyBall. Recently-appointed corporate executive chef Justin Vaiciunas promises his new menu delivers elevated takes on classic bar fare, such as white cheddar popcorn tossed in liquid nitrogen and Mexican mole tacos with pulled pork and cotija cheese.