Shakespeare 400 Culinary Complete Works: 38 Chicago Celebrity Chefs take on the Bard

Shakespeare 400 Culinary Complete Works: 38 Chicago Celebrity Chefs take on the Bard
Double, double toil and trouble, EL Ideas chef whips up a meal with Macbeth lurking in the shadows

“Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers”

Romeo and Juliet: Act 4, Scene 2

What better way to get a taste of Shakespeare than through menus created by Chicago’s celebrity chefs that put a spin on works from the Bard.

Lucky for us, as Chicago celebrates Shakespeare 400 with 850 events and 1000 artists in museums, cultural institutions, parks, schools and neighborhoods across the city that part of the tribute gives a big nod to our city’s world class food landscape.

The initiative that combines theatrical storytelling with food will take diners on a culinary tour of the Bard’s plays–all 38 of which reference food–through the menus of 38 of Chicago’s most talented chefs.

Each participating chef will artfully translate one of Shakespeare’s plays–as you like it–into a featured dish, menu or event at their restaurant for varying lengths of time throughout the year.

The line-up for the Culinary Complete Works adventure, curated by Alpana Singh, star restaurateur and tastemaker in Chicago, was announced Thursday by Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Featured restaurants range from James Beard Award-winning and Michelin-starred fine dining establishments to hidden neighborhood gems–spanning ethnic cuisines of all varieties—at every price point.

© 2014 Galdones Photography

Cafe Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano

Diners can get a taste of the Bard featuring historical Veronese ingredients from Cafe Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano as his menu marries love and tragedy to interpret Romeo and Juliet from 

In July Shakespeare foodies can check out celebrity chef Art Smith’s salute to the iconic tragedy of King Lear while at the same time checking out his new Blue Door Kitchen & Garden eatery.

EL Ideas chef Phillip Foss serves up the “double, double, toil and trouble” of Macbeth when his diabolic witch’s brew–a gastronomic take on French Fries and Bubbling Ice Cream hits the table in May.

Come October Rick Bayless wakes up diners at Topolobampo with “A 
Midsummer Night’s Dream” tasting menu.

A perfect pre or post theatrical dining experience is to head to John Manion’s La Sirena Clandestina before or after seeing Chicago Shakespeare’s Othello.

His dish—Grilled Chicken Hearts with Kale Tabbouleh, Feta and Smoked Eggplant Puree—pays homage to the influence of Cyprus on Brazilian cuisine. Manion quips, “Nothing could be more emblematic of blind jealousy than a skewered heart.” The meal mirrors the run of Othello through April 10.


John Manion serves up a taste of Othello

Here is the complete line-up:

  • Ashlee Aubin, Salero – Richard II (June–August)
  • Tanya Baker, The Boarding House – The Taming of the Shrew (August)
  • Jill Barron, Mana Food Bar – Two Noble Kinsmen
  • Rick Bayless, Topolobampo – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (October)
  • Kevin Cuddihee, TWO – Antony and Cleopatra (April)
  • Jimmy Ferguson, Jimmy Jamm’s Sweet Potato Café – The Merry Wives of Windsor (April)
  • Phillip Foss, EL Ideas – Macbeth (May)
  • Luigi Garcia, RIVA Crab House – Henry VI, Part 2 (September–October)
  • Carlos Gaytan, Mexique – Richard III (Summer)
  • Cameron Grant, Osteria Langhe – King John (June)
  • Danny Grant, Maple & Ash – Pericles (May)
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde – The Comedy of Errors (July)
  • Kevin Hickey, The Duck Inn – Henry IV, Part 2
  • Art Jackson, Pleasant House Bakery – Titus Andronicus (Summer)
  • J. Joho, Everest – Julius Caesar (October)
  • Paul Kahan and Perry Hendrix, avec – The Tempest (July–August)
  • Michael Kornick, DMK Restaurants – The Merchant of Venice (August)
  • John Manion, La Sirena Clandestina – Othello (February–April)
  • Tony Mantuano, Café Spiagga – Romeo and Juliet (May–August)
  • Ryan McCaskey, Acadia – The Winter’s Tale (June)
  • Matthias Merges, A10 and Billy Sunday – Henry VI, Part 1
  • Carrie Nahabedian, Naha – Measure for Measure (July)
  • Jessica Oloroso, Black Dog Gelato – Hamlet (Summer)
  • Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge, Autre Monde Café and Spirits – The Two Gentlemen of Verona (September)
  • Chris Pandel, Swift & Sons – Henry VI, Part 3
  • Nicole Pederson, Found Kitchen and Social House – Twelfth Night (May–June)
  • Ajay Popli and Nelson Vinansaca, Arami – As You Like It (August)
  • Tony Priolo, Piccolo Sogno – Troilus and Cressida (March–June)
  • Tigist Reda, Demera Ethiopian Restaurant – Henry VIII (May)
  • Iliana Regan, Elizabeth – Cymbeline (Summer)
  • Cardel Reid, The Signature Room – Love’s Labor’s Lost (May–August)
  • Mindy Segal, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate – All’s Well That Ends Well
  • Pat Sheerin, Trenchermen – Timon of Athens (July)
  • Bruce Sherman, North Pond – Much Ado About Nothing (Summer)
  • Art Smith, Blue Door Kitchen & Garden – King Lear (July)
  • Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster – Coriolanus (June–July)
  • Tom Van Lente, White Oak Tavern & Inn – Henry IV, Part 1 (October)
  • Paul Virant, Vie – Henry V (September)

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