Around the World with Chef Stephen Gillanders

October 27, 2015

Meet Chef Stephen Gillanders, who is now helming the kitchen at Lettuce Entertain You’s award-winning culinary incubator, Intro, as the fourth chef-in-residence. Aside from crafting Intro’s first ever à la carte menu, this culinary alum of internationally acclaimed Chef Jean-Georges Vongrichten, is a former winner of S. Pellegrino's "Almost Famous" competition and has helped open restaurants all over the world, including The Pump Room in Chicago. His iteration of Intro certainly brings a lot of exciting changes to the restaurant – one being that nearly every dish Chef Gillanders has created has a story pulling inspiration from his whirlwind tour of Southeast Asia including stops in China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines. We spoke with Chef Gillanders who told us some of these travel-inspired stories and gave us a glimpse of what you can expect from his new menu at Intro. Flatiron Steak - ‘beef & broccoli’ Beef Beef and broccoli is one of Chef Gillanders all time favorite Chinese dishes. The best version he ever had was in a tiny noodle shop in Beijing and since then he has been obsessed with wanting to create his own interpretation of this dish. The flatiron steak became Chef Gillanders' interpretation. Caramelized and glazed with a soy glaze, the flatiron steak is ever so reminiscent of that beef and broccoli sauce back in Beijing. Alongside the steak, broccoli is found in three forms, a broccoli puree with toasted garlic and olive oil, pan roasted broccoli and steamed, tender florets of broccoli. Though the presentation is contemporary, all you need to do is take a bite and you'll immediately recognize the classic flavors. Kampachi Sashimi- black sesame ponzu, avocado, crunchy rice sashimi As incredible as the food is in Tokyo, Chef Gillanders found himself shamelessly craving some of the American mainstays: California rolls, shrimp tempura rolls, and the like. The Kampachi Sashimi dish is his answer to a new style American-Japanese sushi dish. All of the components: sushi rice, impeccable fish, ponzu, avocado are all ubiquitous flavors to that style but uniquely presented. Wilted Kale Salad - roasted pepitas, jalapeno, cotija kale Chef Gillanders’ inspirations are not only coming from Southeast Asia. On a trip to Mexico he learned that there was a common misconception that caesar salad was created in Italy, when in fact it originated from Mexico. The intention of this dish is to fortify its Mexican identity, as the salad uses toasted-pumpkin seeds and roasted pepitas in lieu of croutons and Cotija cheese instead of the typical parmesan. Of Course, There will be dessert. banana Did you even have to ask? As the new season rolls in, Chef Gillanders is rolling out desserts that showcase the best of what fall has to offer. One head turner will be the banana cake with a torched bourbon caramel cream sprinkled with grated banana chips. Alongside the à la carte menu, an $84, five-course tasting menu remains an option and tickets can be purchased on the Intro site. Chef Gillanders’ menu will run through the January 2016. For more information be sure to follow all the action with #IntroChicago on Twitter, Instagram @IntroChicago and Facebook.