‘Top Chef’ Calls Upon Two More Chicago Chefs

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Warning: Small spoilers for Top Chef: Wisconsin, episode 6.

As the latest season of Top Chef motors on to its sixth episode — premiering tonight (Wednesday, April 24) on Bravo — there are two developments that Chicagoans should know about.

Soo Ahn, the chef at Gold Coast Italian restaurant Adalina, gets the call to the big show after fighting his way through the Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, the web-only series that offers competitors a chance to appear on the original show. Ahn made a name for himself at Band of Bohemia, where the Ravenswood restaurant was, at the time, the only Michelin-star brewpub in the world. The restaurant closed after his departure. Since then, he’s brought electricity to the Gold Coast with Adalina with a unique Italian American menu.

The other Chicago item shouldn’t be that big of a surprise as chef Phillip Foss of El Ideas, the funky experimental tasting menu restaurant in Douglass Park, is appearing on tonight’s show. Foss, a Milwaukee native, says he’ll be a guest chef on the episode which will feature Chaos Cooking, a type of style — a phrase coined in 2022 by Eater’s Jaya Saxena — as a new type of cooking that’s an “aggressive, weird, troll-y fusion that’s also thoughtful, being incredibly well received, and actually good.”

Foss says he’d never heard of the term until he was approached to appear on the show. But he feels it’s a philosophy he’s embraced through the years at EL Ideas where the menu can include chicken liver Twix and a Chicago-style lobster dog. He also mentions how chaos cooking involves an element of shock. His restaurant has served foie gras and black truffle milk from a baby bottle, for example. But the biggest example might be a “cocaine” course which involves a line of coconut and lime powder served on a mirror with a razor blade and straw.

“Though it is easily the most cost-effective item we’ve ever offered as a course, it provides exponential dividends in shock value for our guests,” Foss writes.

Still, Foss stresses that chefs need to crawl before they walk — they can’t immediately jump into the “cesspool of chaos.” They need to learn the fundamentals first.

Ahn joins Chicago Athletic Association chef Kaleena Bliss as the two locals left. Former MFK and Bambola chef Alisha Elenz has been eliminated.

Watch Foss and Ahn on Top Chef: Wisconsin, debuting at 8 p.m. tonight.

EL ideas

2419 West 14th Street, , IL 60608 (312) 226-8144 Visit Website

Chicago Athletic Association

12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL (312) 940-3552 Visit Website


912 North State Street, , IL 60610 (312) 820-9000 Visit Website

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