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Ex-Next Chef to Run a Michelin-Starred Chicago Restaurant This Summer

Jenner Tomaska will cook an imperfect produce-themed menu at Elizabeth starting in July

Jenner Tomaska
Jenner Tomaska

Jenner Tomaska, Next restaurant’s James Beard-nominated, longtime executive chef who split from the chameleon of a fine dining tasting menu haunt this past October, has signed on to take over Iliana Regan’s Michelin-starred Elizabeth in Lincoln Square for a two and a half month residency beginning July 17. Titled Ugly Fruits & Vegetables with Jenner Tomaska, the chef will prepare a 10 to 12-course tasting menu for $150 using imperfect produce from local farms; a beverage pairing will run $95, while a non-alcoholic juice and tea pairing will cost $65. Ticket sales kick off this coming Friday at 9 a.m. via Tock.

“I have the opportunity to open up Milkweed Inn this year,” begins Regan, speaking of her forthcoming weekend getaway concept in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which sold out its first season in record time. “Being eager and excited, I found that August was going to be the perfect month for the opening, which coincides with the release of my memoir on July 16th, [which is] taking me all over the place for events.”

So, Regan reached out to Tomaska to see if he’d like to move in to Elizabeth—her seasonal and locally-conscious eatery known for its bi-monthly themed menus—and take over while she’s traveling. Since Tomaska had some free time while he works on opening his own restaurant, the chef says he was “humbled” by the opportunity and accepted the offer. And since Regan already had her ugly fruits and veggies menu planned, Jenner will execute that theme, using his own creativity to shape dishes.

“I’ll be structuring the menu with classic flavors and modern techniques that play off one another,” explains Tomaska. Dishes he’s considering at the moment include blanquette de aubergine, corn and kombu with Ossetra caviar and fig leaf, squash braids lorighittas in summer brodo, and an array of melon and textures: halona, arava, sweetie.

Elizabeth Restaurant

4835 North Western Avenue, , IL 60625 Visit Website