20 Questions - Charlie McKenna of Lillie's Q

I met Charlie 6 years ago when he was still at Avenues in the Peninsula. You learned quickly about his love for BBQ and Florida State Football! Most kitchens talk about music or food so it was nice to find a fellow sports fan, who could discuss the college football season and commiserate on missing it.

It's good to see Charlie come back to Chicago and it's one of my favorite lunch spots during the week. I eat a lot more then I should at Lillie's Q which is a good sign and the hot link has become a new favorite!


Name                Charlie McKenna

charlie mck.jpg

Restaurant         Lillie's Q - Name for his maternal grandmother
Married              No
Kids                  Hope, 4yrs old
From                 Greenville, South Carolina
Culinary School  CIA
Knife Hand         Left
Twitter Handle    @lilliesqchicago - Don't have time for my own

1. What did you have for breakfast?
Diet Coke

2. Place you eat most often on days off?
Big Star

3. Favorite ingredient to work with?

4. If I gave you $5,000 how would you spend it?
Vacation to Spain with friends

5. Favorite Charity Event that you do?
Anything for Breast Cancer. My aunt passed away from breast cancer when I was 23 and we were close.

6. Last weekend on earth - what city are you eating in?

7. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

8. If you left Chicago to cook somewhere else, where would you go?
Charleston, SC

9. Most embarrassing cooking moment?
When I was at Norman's in Miami they brought these two plates back and Norman asked "Did it have the two crab cakes on one plate for the table instead of two?" - when I was reaching up to plate it - he said, "if you pull that down closer you'll save a couple seconds and by the time you're 40 you'll save a couple hours."

10. Person you would most like to cook for?
My grandparents on my Dad's side - They passed away when I was little.

11. Who's a better pit master you or your dad?
(laughs) Me... he's a better mouth.

12. What are you most excited about right now?
The growth of BBQ

13. Do you have any pet peeves?

14. Better BBQ Memphis or Kansas City or Texas?

15. Fill in the blank - Florida Gators are _______

16. What is your goal for this season's BBQ competitions?
Top Ten Memphis BBQ Network Team

17. Dish on menu you eat most?
Hot Link

18. What is your Karaoke Song?
Evenflow by Pearl Jam

19. What is new on your iPod?
(Laughs) I have some good stuff on there...Gin and Juice the country version by The Gourds

20. Best place in Chicago for BBQ besides Lillie's Q?

I realized while listening to this again -  the music in the background by far may be one of the best thanks to John Fogarty. If you liked these 20 questions, check out the how Ryan Poli, Francis Brennan and Giuseppe Tentori answered.

Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at chicagofoodsnob@hotmail.com. Joe is retained as a compensated blogger by Pei Wei Asian Diner.



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