Chef Profile: Chris Turano of Dine

Learning to cook at age seven with his Italian-born father, Dine executive chef Chris Turano remembers eating delicacies, such as grilled octopus and raw oysters, as a young boy. “I remember having a great time with my dad in the kitchen and eating all these different foods that most kids would never touch.”

Turano’s early explorations helped his palette to develop; he was able to learn about different cuisines more quickly than most people. He believes that this experience gave him an upper hand in the kitchen.

“Dining was always an occasion. I enjoyed long lunches with my father?s side of the family and learned about traditional southern cuisine from my mother’s,” he says. “My grandmother still gets up in the middle of the night before any big meal to make cornbread for the stuffing,” Turano says.

Growing up in Melrose Park, IL, Turano started in the industry at age 15 by washing dishes in the kitchen at Good Samaritan Hospital. He then moved up to the line where he worked for a chef who was “strict and structured; he was a culinary master of ingredients, but he also taught me about organization and task delegation ? two things any successful cook needs to know how to do,” he explains.

Turano attended the College of Du Page where he studied culinary arts. He then took those skills to the kitchens of Elaine Restaurant in Naperville, and Parker’s Ocean Grill in Downers Grove, where he learned how to simultaneously run a busy restaurant and had a morning job working for a catering business.

When asked about his culinary idols, he quickly replies, “I’ve had a number of great chefs teach me how to be creative in the kitchen while also successfully focusing and staying on task,” says Turano, “and if I could work with any chef, I’d like to work with Mario Batali. He keeps his food simple and lets the ingredients speak for themselves.”

When not working, Turano enjoys spending time in the suburbs with his two dogs. He also enjoys creating new and interesting dishes for long leisurely meals with his fianc?e, family and friends.

Dine, Chicago?s new 1940?s-style American eatery, is now open in the burgeoning West Loop neighborhood to an adoring clientele. The restaurant is receiving high praise from Chicagoans searching for a fun contemporary supper club, in a spirited, bustling environment. Dine?s interior style is reflective of the best work completed by the San Francisco-based Puccini Group, known as an industry leader in restaurant design. Design essentials include vintage elements such as antiqued glass, terrazzo flooring, a zinc bar and oversized printed art; each of which work together to fill the restaurant with nostalgia and charm. The exposition kitchen overlooks the open main dining area and guests may also choose semi-private and private dining options. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as late night cocktails, Dine offers customers a variety of comforting menu options carefully selected and prepared by Executive Chef Chris Turano. Dine is located at 733 W. Madison St.; for reservations or additional info, call 312-602-2100 or visit www.dinerestaurant.com.

? December 2008