Chefs' Highlight 

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Welcome to Chefs' Highlight where we document and tell the story of who our chefs are from around the country. Scroll to see what incredible dishes are featured in your state. Come dine in the restaurants that have the best dishes using the worlds greatest ingredients. 

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Illinois Chefs

Boqueria

Chef Ricardo Ramirez

What inspired you to become a chef?
My name is Ricardo Ramirez, and I was born in Mexico. I started my career in food at 17 when I moved to Chicago and became a line cook. After that experience, I developed a passion for food, and the different cultures inspired me to become a Chef. 

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I love working with The Chefs' Warehouse because they have the best product and specialty items in the city. Not only do they have the best ingredients but their staff is always friendly and helpful. One of our signature dishes we have on the menu with The Chefs' Warehouse is the Prime Ribeye Chuletón de buey and Paella!

The Chopping Block 

Chef Shelley Young

What inspired you to become a chef?
What inspired me to become a chef was what food represents to me and others. Food makes people happy, and I love making people happy! At The Chopping Block, we have been teaching people in Chicago how to cook for over 24 years. We are a recreational cooking school that combines education and entertainment.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
  I love working with the Chefs' Warehouse because their customer service is excellent; our rep is the best! You build such a close relationship with them, and they are more of a partner than just a sales rep. Our signature dish with CW is the Herb and Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin. Our students love the tang of the sharp Dijon mustard combined with the rich pork flavor. Of course, adding the crispy crunchy rosemary breading seals the deal.

Rooh

Chef Sahil Sethi 

What inspired you to become a chef?
 I have loved munching around since I was a child, and that’s where my actual taste buds started tingling. My appreciation for food began with having my favorite dishes made by my Mom and Aunt’s, and to this day, I go back to them to eat that particular dish. I started cooking at an early age and went to Farmers Market weekly to buy produce with my Father. This love for food and feeding people turned into my passion, and I pursued my career in cooking! 

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
 We are an ethnic restaurant and use high-quality ingredients, and the best part is the Chefs' Warehouse always meets our needs and requirements. The product you get is high quality and has been selected by a team of experts! Our signature dish represented today is the butter chicken. We use Chicken thighs and tomatoes, and roasted peppers to make our sauce with cashews which the Chefs' Warehouse supplies. All this amazing produce helps us ease out the process and helps keeps our recipes consistent!

Gibsons Italia 

Chef Casey Doody

What inspired you to become a chef?
I love the art of cooking- from the presentation to the flavor profiles to watching the theatrics of cooking; It has always enamored me. I grew up in my family's pizzeria and quickly learned the restaurant business. I had tried other avenues of interest as career paths, but something always led me back to cooking. I owe it to my Grandmother and Mom for my love of cooking. Sunday dinners were always a tradition in my family. Any celebration was centered around great food. Food has a way of connecting people and cultures; it is what excites me and gives me purpose. I have the world's greatest job, and I get to celebrate life's special moments through the experience and element of dessert, and sometimes you don't need a celebration for a phenomenal dessert, that's just it; food makes people happy - "just eat the cake!" 

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
 The Chefs' Warehouse continues to push the boundaries for excellence. Everyone has been a delight to work with and assures our needs and wants as a chef are met. Everyone I have encountered through conversation understands the science behind needing the correct ingredients of the highest quality to produce the best product. 

North Pond

Chef Cesar Murillo

What inspired you to become a chef?
My name is Cesar Murillo. I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, raised in Texas, and have been in Chicago for the past eight years. I am the Chef at North Pond, a hyper-seasonal restaurant in the heart of Lincoln Park. I knew from a young age that I wanted to create and connect with my culture and was drawn to the sensory experience of the kitchen. I love the sensory engagement of cooking, creating, finishing a dish, and finding ways to blend elegance with simplicity on the plate. My style is driven by the season, grounded in vegetables, and thoughtfully curious. From Texas, I set my sights on Chicago and got an internship at Frontera Grill. While I had worked at other kitchens, working there felt like the true beginning of my professional career. There I developed a strong work ethic and learned the importance of remaining humble and staying involved in the kitchen, no matter your position. After leaving Frontera, I went west to the Bay Area of San Francisco to better connect with and understand the growing and raising of the products we were using daily. I immersed myself in the farm to fork culture of the region. I returned to Texas, working at the fine dining restaurant FT33 in Dallas, where I sharpened and refined my skills. While there, I set up a stage at the recently opened Grace in Chicago and was offered a position. While there, I was able to explore my creativity and push myself in ways I had never before and become a sous chef. I next became a senior sous chef at Sepia, where my culinary and creative voice grew clearer. I joined the North Pond team in 2020.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
 It was a crazy time to be opening up a restaurant again and for the first time as an Executive Chef. Chase, my Chefs' Warehouse rep, understood that and went out of his way to make that transition much easier. He took the time to get to know us and what we wanted moving forward and guide us through what has worked at North Pond in the past. He has always been there for us and brings thoughtful advice, and I appreciate that he also understands the industry from within. One day he brings along the 5J reps. They spoke with such passion and knowledge about their product. That type of dedication and passion is noteworthy. I was very inspired by their presentation and knew I had to use them somehow. That's how my signature dish with the Chefs' Warehouse developed, which is the Parsnips Vychissoise with Cinco Jotas Iberico de Bellota Jamon came to be.

The Farehouse Market

Chef Johnny Pagan

What inspired you to become a chef?
Growing up in a large family, food was always the main event. I remember my aunts coming together to put together meals for holidays and birthday celebrations. I always chose to be the kid that was in the middle of it. I enjoyed every moment-the laughs, the arguing about who made it better, or how Abuela (My Grandmother) was the best cook, and no one could compare. The revolving door of family coming in to eat and enjoy each other’s company with food was never-ending. Food was always the thing that put a smile on everyone’s faces. Even today, when I cook in the kitchen, my memories drift back to a home full of a family enjoying a meal together. So I guess that’s why I have always wanted to be a chef, to be part of the memories people make while enjoying a great meal. Knowing that I have provided that to my customers always puts a smile on my face.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
What really caught my attention was the attention to detail on every level, from the products they distribute to the communication and relationships they build with their sales staff is above and beyond! That is why I choose to go with the Chefs' Warehouse when it comes to my signature dish using Allen Brothers Beef Brisket. My signature dish is my Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich on a Toasted Potato Bun with Crispy Fried Onions and Tangy Alabama Sauce.

Taqueria Chingon

Chef Marcos Ascencio

What inspired you to become a chef?
My name is Chef Marcos Ascencio, and I am the Executive Chef at Taqueria Chingon. My family was the inspiration in my journey in becoming a chef and the traditions and history they passed on to me heavily influences my menu. At Taqueria Chingon, we developed a menu that blends classics that stay true to their origins and some tacos that create a new tradition.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I have built a strong relationship with the Chefs' Warehouse and have worked with the company for several years. I value CW because of the trust I have with my sales rep and the company overall. They know how to get things done and truly provide the most incredible products.  Our signature dish with the Chefs' Warehouse was inspired with octopus & shrimp from a street vendor while visiting Mexico City!

The Dearborn

 Chef Aaron Cuschieri

What inspired you to become a chef?
I am the Executive Chef of The Dearborn in downtown Chicago's Theatre District. We serve upscale nuanced American cuisine with seasonal focus and worldly inspiration. I've always loved cooking. I remember being a young kid, and I always wanted to cook and bake with my mom in the kitchen. I love pots and pans, and we always have fresh raspberries and blueberries in the backyard. I got inspired to become a chef in my early 20's. I got into a leadership role in the QSR scene when I was 18. I always knew I loved food and cooking and found success in leadership at a young age. I began working in kitchens, and I fell in love with the fast-paced environment and thrill of the dinner rush. Some people turn to drugs and alcohol to forget about their life problems, and I turned to a kitchen. 10-12 hours a day, nothing else mattered but cooking. There wasn't even time to think about anything else, and in the end, you've realized you've surrounded yourself with other people who feel the same way. The kitchen is like a family of misfits, artists, and weirdos, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I fit right in. On top of that, I knew I would never be rich or wealthy, and the only way I was going to get to enjoy the greatest food in the world was to become someone who was cooking it.  

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I think the greatest thing about the Chefs' Warehouse is their hospitality focus.I think the greatest thing about the Chefs' Warehouse is their hospitality focus. I have a great relationship with my sales rep, and I actually would consider him a friend (shout out to my man, Paul!!). They understand customer service, and the whole team at the Chefs' Warehouse understands what we as chefs go through. The Chefs' Warehouse cares about their customers and wants to work to make things perfect for them. Their wide range of products, incredible customer service, trucks, and flexibility make them a great asset to our restaurant. I am happy to have them as an intricate part of our business because I know they will do anything they can to help our business succeed. One of our signature dishes at the Dearborn is our shrimp and grits. We source almost all of the ingredients of the dish from the Chefs' Warehouse. We use butter, grits, heavy cream, shrimp, cheddar cheese, and cajun spice from Chef's Warehouse in the dish."

California Chefs

The Chefs' Warehouse

Francois Mellet

What inspired you to become a chef?
Francois Mellet was born in Lyon, France, holds a culinary degree in pastry and brings more than 30 years of experience to The Chefs’ Warehouse pastry category. Francois is constantly evaluating new products, educating customers/CW sales staff and providing solutions for pastry kitchens around the country. His experience and creative talent have given him a unique understanding of the chocolate and pastry industry, and made him an expert in his field.

Glasspar Seafood

Rob Wilson


What inspired you to become a chef?
My name is Rob Wilson, and I am the executive chef and owner of Glasspar Seafood restaurant in Dana Point, California. I was inspired to become a chef at a very young age. I always loved cooking with my parents, and as I got older, I would cook for my friends and their families. I began cooking in a restaurant at the age of 15 and haven't looked back. It brings me great pleasure creating, cooking, and watching guests' reactions when you put together a great dish in front of them. 

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I choose to use the Chefs' Warehouse for a few reasons. First, the quality and variety of specialty products fit the needs of my restaurant. Second, the customer service I get from Brett Wilkinson, my area representative, is 5 star. The signature dish featured today is Charred Spanish Octopus, Duck Fat Poached Potatoes, Cracked Mediterranean Olives, Pickled Poll Beans, Saffron Aioli, Piquillo Romesco, and Marcona Almond Powder. 

Lionfish

Chef Jojo Ruiz


What inspired you to become a chef?

I'm Jojo Ruiz, and I am the Chef and Partner in Clique Hospitality in San Diego. I Am the Chef of Lionfish In the Pendry San Diego and Serea in the Hotel Del Coronado. I also have a Lionfish in Florida in Del Ray Beach. I was inspired to be a chef by an honest mistake; I was in school and got offered a job in my first restaurant by my dad's friend, who owned a sushi bar. I started as a dishwasher and moved my way up in the kitchen and eventually to sushi, and I realized my passion and career was in the kitchen. So I went to culinary school to learn from some amazing chefs and in some great restaurants. To this day, those experiences partially inspire and drive me to grow every day, but most of all are the amazing chefs and now friends that I have had the opportunity to work and learn from.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
 I've used the Chefs' Warehouse for about a decade and also enjoy that they can get you the hard-to-find products that can really make a dish stand out. I've become great friends with my reps and can always rely on them to get me the best product. From day one the service, variety, and quality of products have made me a loyal fan of Chefs Warehouse. One of my signature dishes from the Chefs' Warehouse is The Octopus with Sumac Marinated Onions and Castlevetrano Olive Red Chimichurri.  

Catch LA

Chef Danny Ye


What inspired you to become a chef?
Growing up as the eldest child of immigrant parents in Los Angeles, I've been blessed to have an inclusive view of culture, people, and especially food. Food was everything, and at its core, I became a chef because of this. Food connects us and serves as a touchstone of good memories.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
Working with the Chefs' Warehouse is a no-brainer. Not only do they have the best products, but they have the best people. Savvy individuals who know the industry well and truly care about the client. Whether it's wagyu beef, caviar, or heavy cream, I know I can always lean on CW. One of Catch LA’s most popular specials is the Scallops Casino. We source bay scallops on the half shell from the Chef’s Warehouse along with their finest European butter and pancetta from Italy to make a comforting yet upscale take on the classic baked clams. 

Virginia Chefs

Stellina Pizzeria

Chef Matteo Venini 

What inspired you to become a chef?
Growing up in Italy, food was always the center of my life. My family owned a butcher shop, and I loved helping my father on the weekends. In addition, my first memories of cooking were with my grandmother. I was always amazed by the simple yet delicious street food all over Italy, which inspired me to open Stellina. 

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I choose Chefs' Warehouse as my foodservice distributor because they carry many of my favorite products, including Italian cheeses, meats, and flour, which are all essential to running an Italian restaurant. In addition, they are a very reliable company and work hard to keep our products stocked and delivered on time. Mozzarella is essential to our restaurant, and Chefs' Warehouse carries the best. One of our signature dishes is Cacio e Pepe pizza, and thanks to the quality of cheeses from Chefs' Warehouse, we are able to make it one of our bestselling and most popular dishes. 

Maryland Chefs

True Chesapeake Oyster Co

Chef Zach Mills 

What inspired you to become a chef?
My name is Zack Mills, and I am the Chef and Partner of True Chesapeake Oyster Co in Baltimore, Maryland. My family inspired me to become a Chef. I have been surrounded by food and family my whole life, and I've been cooking alongside my mother since I was little.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I have been working with Chefs Warehouse for many years now and continue to work with them because of their great products and exceptional customer service. One of our signature dishes is our Blue Crab Mac & Cheese, which uses cavatappi pasta, milk, cream, flour, cream cheese, among other ingredients, all coming from Chefs Warehouse.

Connecticut Chefs

Moon

Chef Nisorin Paulino

What inspired you to become a chef?
I am Nisorin Paulino, and I am the Executive Chef at Moon. I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in NYC, Surrounded by many different cultures and food. I’ve always been a foodie; even as a kid. I would save every penny just so I could try something new to munch on. What inspired me to be a chef was my first job in a real kitchen that I ended getting out of desperation in Hell's Kitchen During the summer as a dishwasher. It was my first foot in the door, and I remember loving the rush, chaos, the heat, and the free food, but I really fell in love with the craft once I got into culinary school. It opened my mind to a whole new world.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
 I love working with the Chefs' Warehouse because they are extremely reliable, and I know I am getting great quality products. My signature dish is called Beyond Dan Dan noodle. A vegetarian dish inspired by Chinese flavors, the Fresh Egg noodles combine with our own Crispy Chili oil and roasted sesame sauce, served with fresh lime and garnished with Cilantro and pickled red chilis to create an explosion of flavor.

Gallo

Chef Giuseppe Castellano

What inspired you to become a chef?
I am Giuseppe Castellano, co-owner and executive chef of Gallo Ristorante and The Lantern Bar and Restaurant in Ridgefield, CT and Gran Gusto Trattoria in Cambridge, MA. I became a chef because I knew it was the best way for me to be my own boss and one day have my own restaurant. Cooking is a part of who I am and a way of life for me. I was born and raised around Naples, Italy and my mother was an amazing cook, who never let us eat anything unless it came from her kitchen. Her father, my grandfather, owned a wine vineyard, and this history started my deep appreciation for quality and fresh products.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I started using Chef's Warehouse as my main food distributor 17 years ago. I was new to the Ridgefield, CT area and opened Toscana Ristorante with my partner, Raffaele Gallo. Coming from Italy and New York City, I have always been able to get my hands on the freshest and highest quality ingredients. When I came to Ridgefield, Chefs' Warehouse was the one distributer that I found to offer the most imported Italian products and the highest quality products. My motto as a chef is Product, Recipe, and Technique. The first and most important part of good cooking is the quality of the products that you use, and thanks to the Chefs' Warehouse, I just need to worry about the recipes and techniques that I apply to those foods. One of my signature dishes that use all the Chefs' Warehouse ingredients is Pappardelle with a braised short rib ragu. The short ribs are Allen Brother's all grass-fed beef which slow-braise all day in Mutti brand tomatoes, and then we toss in the fresh-made Papparadelle, made from Fresca brand flour. The simplicity of this dish allows the quality ingredients from Chef's Warehouse to become the focus of the dish. Eat Well! Live Long!

Posa

Chef Massimo Carro 

What inspired you to become a chef?
My name is Massimo Carro. I was born and raised in Positano, Italy. My passion for food comes from an early age of eating the freshest seafood and vegetables from our garden. My grandfathers were both fishermen on the Amalfi Coast, so we never had a short supply of fresh fish. My mother shared the same passion as I do for fresh, locally sourced ingredients. I would spend time with her in the kitchen when I was young, and as I got older, I spent more and more time in my family's hotel kitchen.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
After moving to Ridgefield, CT, my wife and I decided to open up Posa to share our passion for real Italian food, using only the freshest, all-natural ingredients. How lucky were we to find the Chefs' warehouse right in our backyard. The Chefs' Warehouse always supplies us with the freshest, highest quality ingredients around. The produce that they supply is similar to going to a local farmers market. The Chefs' Warehouse imports only the finest Italian products, making it much easier for me to create authentic Italian food. The Chefs' Warehouse provides me with the ingredients to bring a bit of the Amalfi Coast to Ridgefield. Our signature dish with Chefs' is agnolotti with mascarpone parmigiano 36 months and truffle! 

New York Chefs

Boulton & Watt

 Chef David Rotter

What inspired you to become a chef?
I think my family played a big role in me becoming a chef. My grandparents were first-generation Italians who cooked at home. They didn't have a lot of money but could get fresh ingredients from local farmers and create fantastic meals. It always fascinated me how simple ingredients prepared properly could turn out so amazing.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
The Chefs' Warehouse was an obvious choice for our restaurants. The products they carry are top-notch, and the staff is excellent to work with and very accommodating. It's a great foundation when creating dishes. Our signature dish is our brick chicken. Free bird chicken deboned and cooked under a brick and served with colcannon potatoes which are roasted Brussel sprouts and lardons of bacon mixed into buttery mashed potatoes. We top it off with a roasted chicken jus that has Calabrian chilis to help introduce a little spice and tang to the sauce.

Catch Steak

 Chef Michael Vignola

What inspired you to become a chef?
I was inspired to become a chef because of the people. I love the effort and tireless work on a nightly basis our people commit to making special occasions happen. 

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I love the Chefs' Warehouse because of its service, excellent products, and the people. The Chefs' Warehouse stands for integrity and transparency, and both of these qualities are constantly displayed within this company. Our signature dish with the Chefs' Warehouse is this chili-buttered grass-fed steak. We are using the Chefs' Warehouse butter, imported Calabrian chiles, and Sid Wainer's spices in this dish. All the products featured in this dish can be found in the Chefs' Warehouse catalog. 

Tribeca's Kitchen

 Chef Jack Logue

What inspired you to become a chef?
I had wanted to be involved in hospitality since a young age and through that, I had wanted to go about it from the business side, interested in one day owning/operating restaurants and hotels. While in business school, I spent a summer working as a computer programmer on wall street for an investment bank by day and a busboy at an Italian restaurant by night. I was hooked on the restaurant and knew that a desk job wasn’t for me at the time. I then heeded my professor’s advice who told me the first rule of running a business is to know your product and I packed up and moved to Italy at 19 to enroll in culinary school and work there. That kick started a now 15 year journey around the world in multiple continents and many amazing restaurants and restaurant teams. The industry is as captivating as ever to me and I cannot wait to continue to pass on what I have learned to the next generation.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I’ve had a long standing relationship with Chefs Warehouse/Dairyland that has only continued to grow and grow stronger. I’ve always been impressed by the combination of quality of product and amazing service. I have found that all of the account managers I have worked with have shown true attention to detail are extremely friendly and knowledgeable and continue to be there to guide is in the best direction of finding quality of product at an agreeable price.

Hudson West

Chef Vasiliki Vourliotaki 

What inspired you to become a chef?
I am just another chef who loves New York! I love being here, and I have had the pleasure of trying so many different cuisines in the world! I was first inspired to cook because of my Cretan grandmother. She used to be a great cook and made everything seem easy, tasty, and wonderful.
 
What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
I love working with the Chefs' Warehouse because they have excellent food service and the best quality products. In addition, you can find unique products that other distributors don't have, which makes them an unbeatable food distributor. 

Pies 'n' Thighs

Chef Sarah Sanneh and Carolyn Bane

What inspired you to become a chef?
I'm Carolyn Bane, and I loved cooking and cookbooks from a young age. I remember leafing through my mother's yellow box of Betty Crocker recipes. If you are familiar with that you know it's a magical trove! Once I started cooking professionally, it was the fast pace of the kitchen, trying to get ready in time for service -- all of that is fun, if a little stressful at times.
I'm Sarah Sanneh, and I became a chef because I love creating things with my hands and being close to food.

What made you choose the Chefs' Warehouse as your foodservice distributor?
The Chefs' Warehouse (then Dairyland) was the primary vendor at my first restaurant job, and in fact, our current rep Bob Dertinger, was the rep back then. When we opened, we were immediately very busy and it was hard to keep up. I think Dairyland covered our butts a few times in a way that another vendor might not have offered to do. We source our Freebird chicken for our best-selling fried chicken through the Chefs' Warehouse because we have built so much trust in this partnership over the years and we know we can stand by their products and service.

I love The Chefs' Warehouse because they have all the specialty products we need for items like frozen french cherries for our sour cherry & pear pie, and perfectly bittersweet chocolate chunks for our chocolate chip cookies. Also, when you find a partner like Bob Dertinger, you hang on! 

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