Slauterbeck was named executive chef of the No. 1-rated hotel in
Wisconsin in April and in three weeksí time he created the hotelís
summer menu, living up to his "inventive" reputation with
such dishes as Foie Gras Popcorn Balls and a deconstructed tuna
sandwich with quail eggs.
native has spent 12 years working in Chicago, at establishments such
as One North Kitchen and Bar, Glenview House and D.O.C. Wine Bar. He
currently commutes from his home in Old Irving Park on Chicagoís
What are your
I spent many
years of my life cooking serious food, classic French food. My focus
is more on the social aspect of food, the shared experience. I want to
make the plates part of the experience. I want to get rid of the
How will the
hotel environment ó the motorcycle vibe ó influence The Iron Horse
I donít think
the food directly translates to the theme of the hotel just yet. It
matches conceptually between The Yard and Smyth. The next menu will
begin to tie those two together and also the rest of the hotel. Iíve
got it written about four times already.
How have your
previous kitchen experiences prepared you for this role?
The idea of a
hotel is new to me, but I had volume on this level. Cooking on this
level is certainly not new to me.
Has there been a
mentor who has influenced you?
was the second chef I came in contact with when I came to Chicago. He
took a real interest in me. I worked for him for almost six years at a
couple of his restaurants. He is one of the most passionate people
about food I ever met. He definitely had the biggest hand in me
becoming the chef I am today.
Has he been to
The Iron Horse Hotel yet?
No, not yet. He
just opened J. Rocco Italian Table and Bar a few weeks ago so heís
been kind of busy.
What is your
go-to comfort food?
Believe it or
not, pretty much every night of my life I have a turkey sandwich when
I get home from work. Deli turkey or deli chicken. When my wife and I
are sitting around and want to go out, we go real old school Italian.
Itís not cutting edge by any stretch. The menu is like 80 pages
long, but I always order angel hair and meatballs.
What are some of
the dishes you are most excited about on the Iron Horse summer menu?
Wings and Housemade Doughnuts for sure. They have been very
well-received by the guests. Weíre also doing flatbreads. They
traditionally only had pizzas here, but I decided to do flatbreads
instead. The components of the dish are more important than the cheese
and the sauce. Iím excited about all of it.
What did you
mean when you said you "push the levels of classic cuisine by
contorting our original thoughts with sensible and unique ideas?"
Iím trying to
take the classic things I was taught in my French cooking upbringing
and make the food more approachable for everyday guests. My menu is
(intentionally) vague. On the menu itís just Pork and Beans. I do
that so I can do things that I know are cool and flavorful without
confusing the guests.
You are in
Milwaukee by way of Chicago and Detroit. Iím guessing youíre not a
Not really. Iím
a Chicago sports fan unless they are playing Detroit teams.