How to Make a Michelin-Starred Chef’s Chicago-Style Dog

Chef Donald Young of Venteux shares his recipe for this French interpretation of the Windy City classic

September 14, 2021 6:27 am
A Toulouse sausage
A Toulouse sausage served up like a Chicago- style hot dog.
Mimi Lie

From Boulder to Brooklyn, local takes on the Chicago-style hot dog and its dragged-through-the-garden collection of distinctive toppings have recently started to pop up with increased regularity on menus outside of the Midwest.

So, when born-and-raised Chicagoan Donald Young, who is one of the youngest chefs to be awarded a Michelin star in the U.S., began planning the menu for his French restaurant Venteux, he knew he wanted to offer his take on the Windy City classic. The only catch? Young was going to serve his French twist on the Chicago-style dog on the Magnificent Mile.

Officially named the Toulouse Sausage and appearing on the daytime menu of Venteux’s recently opened café, Young’s garlicky version of the ketchup-free classic is served on a poppy seed bun accompanied by a charred leek and foie gras mustard, pickled celery, mustard seed and cornichon relish, heirloom tomatoes, sport peppers and micro-celery.

Created with the intention of putting a different spin on a familiar food without losing Chicago dog’s essential elements, the Toulouse Sausage was at least partially influenced by a dog that Young used to enjoy at Hot Doug’s, an encased-meat institution that would commonly have lines out the door prior to closing a few years ago.

“My favorite dog from there was the duck sausage that came with Dijon mustard, truffle aioli and little cubes of foie gras. It was absolutely fantastic,” the 31-year-old chef tells InsideHook. “So, I planned to go down the road incorporating foie gras into the sausage with the mustard. I think it’s unique because it’s unusual to see foie gras on sausages like that in general, but I think it’s the most complimentary thing on it. You don’t even need a whole lot of it on the dog itself to tie everything together. It connects really well with the garlickyness of the actual sausage.”

A Toulouse sausage
A “dragged-through-the-garden” sausage.
Neil Burger

The Toulouse Sausage was on Venteux’s opening menu and hasn’t been taken off despite the restaurant’s reputation as a fine-dining destination.

“I don’t think it’s weird at all. That’s why I do it the way I do it,” Young says. “It still has that finesse feel to it, but in the end it’s a hot dog, right? It’s just a lot more fun and with more creativity to it. And I don’t think it detours from anything in my past. I think if you look at some of the dishes I’ve done, one of my significant dishes was actually a play on the meatloaf I had as a kid. It was a rendition done very well and differently, but I was doing meatloaf. It’s been really good. We’ve had no one say it’s not a Chicago dog, so that’s good news. The next one I want to work on is an Italian beef done in a very French-applied way.”

While Young is doing that, work on making a Toulouse Sausage for yourself with the recipe he shared below.

Chef Donald Young‘s Chicago-Style Toulouse Sausage

Ingredients for the mustard and cornichon relish

  • Mustard Seeds 2 cups
  • Sugar 1/2 cup
  • Champagne vinegar 1.5 cups
  • Caper juice 6 ¾ tablespoons
  • Cornichons 2 cups

Directions for the relish

  1. Put mustard seeds into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then strain out the water. Repeat this process 3 to 6 more times until the mustard seeds aren’t bitter anymore.
  2. Dice the cornichons.
  3. Combine Champagne vinegar, caper juice and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil to create the pickling liquid. 
  4. Remove from the heat and combine pickling liquid with the cornichons and mustard seeds.
  5. Allow to cool and let sit for 24 hours before using.

Ingredients for the charred leek dijonaise

  • Leeks 2 cups
  • Dijon Mustard 1 cup + 3 tablespoons
  • Hellman’s Mayo 1 cup + 3 tablespoons
  • Sherry vinegar 3/4 cups
  • Salt 1 3/4 tsp
  • Foie Gras 3/4 cup [OPTIONAL]

Directions for the dijonaise

  • Clean leeks well under running water, being careful to remove the dirt that gets stuck between the layers, then dry well. 
  • Place the leeks over an open flame on the stove or grill and char until they are black all around. 
  • Place into a container and wrap with plastic, letting the leeks steam themselves from the residual heat. 
  • Once cooled, combine all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth. For an extra boost of refinement, I personally blend in 150g of foie gras, since it adds a delicate and decadent flavor. Reserve until needed.

Ingredients for the sausage

  • Bun 4pc
  • Sausage, Toulouse 4pc
  • Leek mustard 1/3 cup
  • Mustard and cornichons 1/3 cup
  • Heirloom cherry tomato 1/3 cup
  • Sport peppers 12 ct
  • Celery leaves 20 pc
  • Celery seeds 2 tsp

Directions for the sausage

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toast the bun for 5 minutes while starting on the sausage.  
  2. Pan sear or grill the sausages until crisp and cooked through, making sure not to dry them out.  
  3. Spread the mustard dijonnaise inside the bun and place the sausage on top. 
  4. Finish by creating a beautiful design with all the garnishes on top. Enjoy!


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