Eden Chicago to Host Intimate Collaboration Series With World’s Best Chefs
We chatted with Chef Devon Quinn ahead of the first edition of his one-night-only dinner series
Live on a steady diet of Top Chef and Chopped and you’d think restaurants are war zones where taking out the other guy (culinarily speaking) is what it’s all about. While it’s true that professional kitchens aren’t for the meek, the best chefs are always eager to share and even more eager to learn a tip or two from their colleagues.
Eden’s Devon Quinn — who treats a side of lentils with as much care as he does his branzino steamed in lotus leaf — will celebrate that spirit of camaraderie when he welcomes Scotland’s Michelin-starred Graham Campbell for the first in a series of collaborative dinners that will take place at his West Loop restaurant throughout 2020.
In anticipation of this one-night-only feast (March 11) as well as the project at large, we checked in with Quinn and Campbell to see what’s cooking.
InsideHook: Chef Quinn, what got you going on this idea?
Devon Quinn: We have been planning a series of collaborative chef events as we enter our fourth year of business. This is a unique opportunity to do something different, which is excellent for my cooks and myself to learn from an extremely talented chef.
The evening’s plates will range from Maine lobster with avocado and tangerine to your famous Umani donut, made of butternut squash, raclette, pear and quince. How did the menu come together?
Graham sent me the dishes that he wanted to produce, and I created my own that would complement, create good transitions, and provide the overall flow to the evening. I like to visualize in my head how each course will lead into the next, and how the whole experience will be conveyed to the diners.
American diners may know something of Chef Campbell from the Netflix show The Final Table. For those who don’t, what dish on the menu epitomizes his style?
I think the loin of lamb with spinach, curds and whey speak to his humble upbringing, but with a learned sophistication.
Chef Campbell, how would you describe your approach?
Graham Campbell: I like to keep the dishes simple and make the main ingredient stand out. Everything on the plate must enhance the main star, whether that’s fish, meat or vegetable. With me, simplicity is key and I hope I don’t disappoint.
Did you feel any need to make concessions to the American palate? Or have you had any trouble getting your hands on product?
No, I feel America as a whole has such a vast range of cuisine to offer, so I just want to do what I’m good at and hopefully it will inspire and delight. And I haven’t, as of yet, found there’s anything I can’t get here. It’s fantastic.
As chefs — and perhaps as individuals — how would you say you two are alike and how do you differ?
I see his approach as very new-age American cuisine. My background is Scottish-French, Michelin star, fine dining. I am Scotland’s youngest chef to have held a Michelin star at the age of 25, which is a true honor. But I believe that at the core, chefs are all the same in that we all love to cook with passion and drive and get our guests excited about our food.
Eden’s Chef Collaboration Series is $150 per seat, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Wine pairings are available for an additional $50 per person. Tickets available here.