20 Questions with Curtis Duffy of Avenues

20 Questions with Curtis Duffy of Avenues
Chef Curtis Duffy of Avenues at The Peninsula Chicago

I’ve met Curtis a few times but never shared kitchen space with him. He’s definitely well known amongst the female foodies of Chicago as a one of the better looking Chefs in town. But he’s not just a pretty face – working with Grant Achatz at Trio and opening Alinea. He was named the Best Innovative Pastry Chef of 2004 by Food and Wine. The man has some serious chops

At the recent Star Chef’s event in Chicago, he put out two dishes that were really good I went back for seconds on the crab dish! He’s kept the 4 stars Avenues earned and pushed the restaurant in to even newer directions. He’s got a good poker face but you can get him to crack a smile with a well timed joke.

Name                                    Curtis Duffy
Restaurant                         Avenues
Married                               no
Kids                                       Eva, Eden
Age                                        35
From                                    Columbus, Ohio
Culinary School               Ohio State
Knife Hand                         Right
Twitter Handle                @curtisduffy

1. What did you have for bfast, lunch or dinner?
Tom Kha soup

2. Place you eat most often on days off?
Tiparos for Thai

3. Favorite ingredient to work with?
Kaffir Lime

4. If you got $1,000 how would you spend it?
Easily – new pipes for my bike (Laughs)

5. First word that comes to mind when I say Michelin?
Humble

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

7. If you weren’t cooking, what would you do for a living?
Sculpt, Photography

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

9. Most exotic vacation destination?
Bangkok

10. If you left Chicago to cook somewhere else, where would you go?
Japan

11. Most embarrassing cooking moment?
Curtis: Hmmm…
CFS: you’ve had no humbling Trotter-esq moments?
Curtis: Not for me (laughs) for watching other people, ya
CFS: You slipped by
Curits: I did

12. Do you have any pet peeves?
Curtis: Yes a lot of them
CFS: Top one
Curtis: Splashed up water from around the sink

13. Karaoke song?
Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

14. Dish on the menu you eat most?
Crab Dish

15. Are you a buckeye fan?
Curtis: Sure
CFS: Very committal (laughter)

16. Trio, Trotter’s, Alinea – where would you most like to go back and cook?
Trotter’s

17. You were named Best Innovative Pastry Chef by F&W in 2004. How has that helped you be the chef you are today?
Definitely the discipline from having the mindset of a pastry chef. The overall discipline it takes to do that has constructed me to be a better chef and a more well-rounded chef

18. Who’s better looking you or Chef Chris Nugent at Le Nomad?
(Smiles) Me

19. Is there a difference between restaurant fine dining vs hotel fine dining?
Yes, lots – the focus is solely on one restaurant where as a hotel as many other outlets.

20. When you worked at Muirfield Golf Club did you ever get the dean’s daughter to go night putting?
Not her but (laughs) no I did not.

Thanks for the time Chef and I hope everyone enjoyed his answers.

If you liked these 20 questions, check out the how Ryan Poli, Francis Brenna, Giuseppe Tentori, Charlie McKennaChris Pandel and Michael Muser 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.

Leave a comment