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Chef speak
Brian Frakes/Executive Chef -  Hilton Milwaukee City Center

By PAM PERCY

Brian Frakes has a full platter. He not only oversees the Milwaukee ChopHouse, the Miller Time Pub, the Café, Paradise Island and 730 guest rooms, but on any given day, there are conventions, weddings and meetings in the five ballrooms and 18 multipurpose rooms.

Frakes, a native Milwaukeean, grew up in south Florida, but was always loyal to his Wisconsin roots. He visited often but came back 25 years later, lured away from his executive chef position at the West Hollywood Bel Age Hotel by The Pfister Hotel. He was instrumental at the opening of Mason Street Grill and, serendipitously, he met his wife, Gina Chirchirillo, owner of Valentina, that night. They now have two daughters, Tiana and McRae.

Frakes’ culinary skills have not gone unnoticed: he was named to the Top 40 under 40 list by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2007; he is a twice Visit Milwaukee Showcase winner and Milwaukee’s 2008 Cajun Chef Champion. He is influenced by Floribbean flavors, and Southern and New American cuisine, but loves local fare. He currently works with the locavore-friendly Growing Power, Bunzel’s Meat Market and Wisconsin cheesemakers — including his favorite, Carr Valley’s Virgin Pine Native Blue.

Frakes unabashedly calls The Milwaukee ChopHouse the best steak house in Wisconsin, serving hand-picked specifications of custom cuts from Chicago. He also prides himself on offering outstanding menus and price-wise, something for everyone.