Chef Joe Rizza, of Prime & Provisions, is a Chicago kid through and through. Unlike many city chefs, Rizza made the choice to train and get all his work experience right here in Chicago. Growing up in a family that was already ingrained in the restaurant business, his training started early. His formal training was with Kendall College in Chicago, a choice he made because he knew there was no other Kendall College which meant that "it wouldn't have a chain-like feel". That, and it was a way to stay true to his Chicago roots.
“My dad was a big fan of brunch and we used to go to the Four Seasons brunch a lot,” Chef Rizza recounts. “When I was 8 years old, I’d re-enact the Four Seasons brunch at home on Sunday mornings…from the table settings to having multiple options to eat—French toast, omelets, eggs benedict.” The Four Seasons still remains Chef Rizza’s favorite place for brunch. But he’s graduated from brunch to steak as his specialty.
Prior to cooking at Prime & Provisions, Chef Rizza worked right across the river at Chicago Cut. “I watched the transformation of the Prime & Provisions space from the patio and realized it was time for a change. So, I sent my business card across the river.” Anyone who dines at Prime & Provisions is glad of that.
Chef Rizza is in charge of managing Prime & Provisions’ meat program, which is all natural, antibiotic free, and dry-aged in house for 45 days. This is in addition to being in charge of food and labor costs and, of course, cooking spectacular food.
Chef Rizza’s entrées embody everything one wants from a steakhouse, from ribeye steaks bigger than your head to mashed potatoes cooked so perfectly you’ll wonder whether they were made by magic.
Last week, Prime and Provisions paired up with the James Beard Foundation Greens program to put on a steak-tacular dinner experience. JBF Greens members enjoyed a four-course meal with wine pairings for the cost of $65. During the dinner, members were treated to meat demos, wine pairing tutorials, and lively food conversations with both Chef Rizza and Sommelier Adam Sweders.
Rizza and Sweders worked seamlessly together. Sweders' careful selection of red wines to showcase throughout the meal was impeccable, highlighting the already impressive food. More impressive, however, was Sweders' ability to make the conversation of wine pairing so approachable and easy to understand. From explaining regions and climates to identifying complimentary flavor profiles, every attendee walked away more knowledgeable and definitely satiated.
If this event is any indication, two things hold true: 1) Prime & Provisions certainly could hold stake as number one steakhouse in the city and 2) JBF Greens gatherings will soon be hotly waitlisted for food-lovers in Chicago.
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