Alpana Singh has found a replacement for chef Tanya Baker, the James Beard Award finalist who left Singh’s Boarding House earlier this year. Phil Rubino—a 2013 Banchet Rising Star Chef award nominee who was most recently the collaborator for AMK Restaurant Group (AMK Kitchen & Bar, Nosh & Booze)—has filled the position. Rubino’s resume includes stints in several notable Chicago kitchens including Spiaggia, Bin 36, Cicchetti, and Dusek’s.
Rubino met Singh, the former Check, Please! host, years ago and developed a friendship. He started the new job three days ago and said he’ll begin adding new items next week. Rubino expects it will take two to three weeks to overhaul the current menu.
Boarding House was an attractive job for him because he says that Singh doesn’t restrict chefs very much. Pairing food with wine is important, as Boarding House focuses on the latter, but Rubino said he has freedom. Forthcoming menu items include an octopus with edamame hummus, a slow-roasted salmon with yogurt and cucumber, and a locally-made burrata with a fig balsamic.
“I’m really excited to be here and excited in pushing Boarding House for the next five years,” Rubino said.
Rubino left AMK in Bucktown about 10 days ago, according to a group rep. He had collaborated with chef Barney Smith on revamping the neighborhood bar and restaurant’s menu. Guests preferred Smith’s original offerings, the rep said, and so they brokered a amicable departure with Smith sliding back to his original role.