CHICAGO, IL – July 15, 2015 – Continuing in the entrepreneurial spirit of introducing up-and-coming chefs to Chicago, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ founder Rich Melman is pleased to announce that Commis vet, Chef Aaron Martinez and Jean-Georges Vongerichten protégé Chef Stephen Gillanders will complete Intro’s inaugural year.
“I’m having a lot of fun with Intro!” says Melman. “My goal is to find young talent that can cook, and it’s been an exciting process. I was introduced to Aaron, I had him cook and it was magic. I’m really anxious for people to try his food. And then we have Stephen Gillanders, a very special talent, coming in October and more surprises in 2016.”
From Thursday, July 30 through Saturday, October 17, Chef Aaron Martinez will operate the kitchen at Intro. An Orange County, CA native, Martinez, who previously worked as chef de cuisine at Quince in San Francisco and Commis in Oakland, was on the team that took Quince from one to two Michelin stars. His style of classic French cooking is spontaneous and market-driven, using a minimal amount of ingredients in very simple, clean and bright presentations.
From Thursday, October 22 through Saturday, January 16, Chef Stephen Gillanders takes over. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Gillanders was the 2004 winner of San Pellegrino ‘Almost Famous’ Chef competition. He spent the next decade working with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, most recently as an executive chef with Jean-Georges Management, managing all the New York City properties and opening nine restaurants with the company around the world. His cuisine is contemporary, presenting nostalgic flavor combinations and ingredients in innovative ways.
Reservations for Chef Aaron Martinez’s dinners are available starting Wednesday, July 15 at www.IntroChicago.com. Sample menu items, which will evolve throughout Martinez’s residency, include Ocean Sea Trout – kohlrabi, dill, frozen mustard; Tomato and Melon – cured ham, seaweed, coriander; Striped Bass- summer cabbage, lemon verbena, shellfish sabayon; and Rib of Beef- eggplant, cherry, onion. A four-course menu is available Tuesday through Friday for $55 per person (wine pairing optional at $35) and a six-course menu is available on Saturday for $85 per person (wine pairing optional at $50). A vegetable menu will always be offered, showcasing products from local farms and farmer’s markets.
Located at 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, Intro is an innovative new concept with an entrepreneurial spirit that introduces up-and-coming culinary talent from around the country to Chicago. For two-to-three months, the chef-in-residence will work in full collaboration with restaurateur Rich Melman and senior partners of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises to create a concept reflective of their personal style. They will have full creative license to make Intro their own, from the conception of the menu to the music, vibe and style of service. Intro Chicago is open Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations can be made by visiting www.IntroChicago.com.