So, this is huge news.
Critically acclaimed Chef Kevin Hickey is leaving Four Seasons for a new concept with Rockit Ranch Productions in the old Dragon Ranch space. Chef Hickey has been with Four Seasons for 18 years and led his team in his native Chicago to a Michelin star and AAA Five Diamond Status.
Repeat. This is some pretty huge news.
In a press release about the new partnership, Chef Hickey echos what a lot of us already know: "I’ve always admired [Billy Dec's] relentless promotion of Chicago as the best city in America, and share his passion for all things local. I’ve watched the Rockit Ranch empire grow over the years, and I’m excited to add to an already diverse and successful company.”
Personally, this insight into Chef Hickey's decision process really excites me. If he was motivated by Billy Dec's passion for Chicago as a true destination city and building up the local scene, there has got to be something truly amazing on the horizon for these two. Something that will put a big spotlight on Chicago. That is something I can get behind.
Chef Hickey's quote is something that resonates with me a very personal way. When I first moved to Chicago at the age of 21 (8 years ago...omg), I remember picking up a RedEye and seeing an advertisement for the MadHatter's ball with co-hosts David Schwimmer, Jeremy Piven and Billy Dec. I was a huge fan of Friends, so I filed this away in my head. I considered saving up for a ticket, even though I was living off two Ramen noodle packets a day.
Ever since then, I've really paid attention to how Rockit has grown its business. I've admired the huge impact they have on the city and the tireless promotion of, not just their properties, but the entire city. I have a lot of respect and admiration for the RRP team. In a lot of ways, I feel like we've kinda come up together. I mean, the team at RRP is giant moon steps ahead of me, but I'm working on it.
There's something I really like about how that story comes full circle.
For now, I can't wait to see the new concept that Chef Kevin Hickey and the team at Rockit Ranch Productions will come up with.