Doug Sohn

The many faces of Doug Sohn If Dorothy Parker, the irreverent wit of the Algonquin round table, and Elvis Costello, the British rocker, conceived a love child, Doug Sohn would be their offspring. Sohn, the owner of Hot Doug’s restaurant in Chicago, wears thick black square frame glasses and peppers everything he does with a tiny bit of his Ginzu sharp wit. When I asked him to reveal something intimate, he said, “I don’t like to wear pants, I mean if it weren’t mandated….I just don’t care for them.” Convention is not Sohn’s game. For this week’s podcast, we sat down with Doug Sohn at Underbar in Roscoe Village. Advertisements

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The Sausage King Continued…

If Dorothy Parker, the irreverent wit of the Algonquin round table, and Elvis Costello, the British rocker, conceived a love child, Doug Sohn would be their offspring. Sohn, the owner of Hot Doug’s restaurant in Chicago, wears thick black square frame glasses and peppers everything he does with a tiny bit of his Ginzu sharp wit. When I asked him to reveal something intimate, he said, “I don’t like to wear pants, I mean if it weren’t mandated….I just don’t care for them.” Convention is not Sohn’s game.

When the Moon Hits Your Eye…

It’s tough to find a good pizza in Chicago. Sure, we’re internationally known for the deep dish pie, but any honest Chicagoan knows that the deep dish pizza was invented for the Michigan Avenue tourist set. The loaded gut bombs are fish stories that soccer moms and Nascar dads can bring back to their co-workers, friends, and family. “Man you should have seen this pizza, it had two pounds of cheese and was as big as your head.” This is fine for out-of-towners, but if you live in Chicago long enough, you know if you eat more than one or two deep dish pizzas in a year, you will start looking like one.

Graham Elliot

This week we sat down with Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues restaurant in Chicago’s Peninsula hotel. Chef Bowles has worked at some of the finest restaurants in the country including the Mansion on Turtle Creek, Charlie Trotters, Tru, and the Jackson House Inn. Chef Bowles earned a nod as one of Food and Wine’s best new chefs of 2004, and since coming aboard at Avenues restaurant, he has earned 4 stars from an assortment of food publications. Our podcast turned into a jam session, with Chef Bowles riffing on music, food, art, and politics. We discussed why a chef has to leave his greatest hits behind, the wider accessibility of fine dining, how constraints actually breed creativity in cooking, and the chef’s tattoo collection.

Tradition

I started drinking in elementary school. My tipple of choice was a Beaujolais Nouveau. Unlike most young drinkers, I was lucky enough to avoid the Wild Irish Rose, Mad Dog 20/20, and Boone’s farm, though I would revisit these malted fruity classics in college. It is not that I was a sullen young drunkard, but that my father, an amateur wine buff, allowed my brother and I a small sampling, usually during Thanksgiving dinner. We would trade our taste impressions across the table. At the ripe age of 10, unaware of phrases like “tannic”, “leathery, or “hint of cassis”, I would usually declare the wine to be “bad grape juice”.

Blue Collar Butter

Ryan Poli, chef of the West Loop’s new hit restaurant, Butter, is exacting.

Ryan Poli

Butter in the West Loop was recently named one of the best new restaurants in America by Esquire magazine. Ryan Poli, the 28 year old head chef, has apprenticed in some of the finest restaurants in the world including Le Francais, The French Laundry, and La Broche in Madrid, Spain. Ryan and I talk about what his last meal would be if he were on death row, what he learned from Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, what it’s like to face the prospect of cooking dinner for Wolfgang Puck, Jean Banchet, Eric Ripert, Christian Delouvrier, Dominique Tougne, and Sebastien Canonne, all on the same night, and more. View the companion article we wrote, recently published in the Chicago Journal: Blue-Collar Butter