Chicago: Food mecca of the Midwest? - FOX 35 News Orlando

Chicago: Food mecca of the Midwest?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The top two finalists on Hell’s Kitchen were from Chicago and Chicagoan Scott Commings took home the top prize.

Commings is an executive chef at Loyola University. It's just another sign Chicago is quickly becoming the food mecca of the Midwest.

“We are not scared to experiment, we are not afraid to do things that are out of the necessary or the norm. We will do things that people would never think about and make it work, that's what makes Chicago different from other places,” said Celissity Sadler in an interview with FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis.

Sadler is studying to become a chef at The International Culinary School at The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago. She is part of a whole new generation of chefs ready to serve it up in the culinary capitol of the Midwest.

The top two contestants on Hell’s Kitchen appeared on Good Day Chicago Thursday morning. They hail from Chicago, just like many other top chefs now in the main stream.

Celebrity Chef to the stars, Judson Todd Allen, explained why.

“We've got our farmer's markets, we've got some of the best produce, we've got some of the best cuts of meat… We're the top producers of the soy bean, of corn. We've got some amazing meat, just in terms of the Midwest, so people are attracted to that so when they come to Chicago they know they're getting quality, premium grade ingredients,” said Allen in an interview with FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis.

Allen also said the lower cost of doing business in Chicago compared to other major cities is enticing.

“They can establish their restaurant, they can get a huge foodie environment which is important because when we talk about not only putting up brick and mortar, you've got to have people that are going to come to your restaurant,” said Allen.

World-famous “mash-ups” is what restaurant owner Gary Nebiolo said helps Chicago’s restaurant scene thrive.

Mash-ups are the merger between two dynamic types of food, say for example, Italian and French.

“You're able to somewhat come up with ideas, which the restaurant industry is, who's got a great idea and how can you modify that for your own as well... it attracts people who are artistic but also hard works but also innovation as well,” said Nebiolo.

FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis reported more than 6,000 restaurants call Chicago home and many more are preparing to open their doors – that doesn’t include hotels in Chicago with full kitchens and expanding menus.

There’s no doubt Chicago has evolved into a culinary hot spot. Hell’s Kitchen is just another example of Chicago’s top culinary talent making waves.

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