Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the line-up for

Culinary complete works

Part of yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago celebration

38 of Chicago's most celebrated chefs explore Shakespeare's 38 plays in 2016


Chicago—March 17, 2016—Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces today the line-up for an unprecedented exploration of food and theatrical storytelling—Culinary Complete Works, a yearlong initiative in which 38 of Chicago’s most talented chefs interpret Shakespeare’s 38 plays in their restaurants throughout 2016 as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. This complete culinary tour of the Bard’s plays is curated by Alpana Singh, star restaurateur and tastemaker in Chicago’s world-renowned food scene. Each participating chef will artfully translate one of Shakespeare’s plays into a featured dish, menu or event at their restaurant for varying lengths of time throughout the year. Culinary Complete Works is only one facet of the yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival, which commemorates the playwright’s 400-year legacy through the world’s great theater, dance, literature, music, exhibits and cinema in 850 events across the city’s leading cultural institutions.

Showcasing the vibrant restaurant scene that makes Chicago an international dining destination, featured restaurants range from James Beard award-winning and Michelin-starred fine dining to hidden neighborhood gems, span ethnic cuisines of all varieties and explore the sweet and savory—at every price point. Chicago Shakespeare Theater Creative Producer Rick Boynton conceived of the project to explore the power of Shakespeare through the vibrant and diverse world of Chicago’s culinary scene.

This yearlong experience features some of the city’s best-known and most inventive chefs, including: 

  • Nationally syndicated television chef Rick Bayless at Topolobampo makes magic in the kitchen channeling A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a tasting menu available in October. 
  • Tony Mantuano’s Italian cuisine marries love and tragedy interpreting Romeo and Juliet at his Café Spiaggia from May–August with historical Veronese ingredients.
  • Celebrity chef Art Smith tackles the iconic tragedy of King Lear at his new Blue Door Kitchen & Garden in July. 
  • Ryan McCaskey explores the contradictions of The Winter’s Tale at his two-Michelin-starred Acadia in June. 
  • Carrie Nahabedian takes on Measure for Measure at Naha with a July tasting menu contrasting elements of passion and reason.
  • Renowned French chef J. Joho serves up a dish of Ancient Rome, inspired by Julius Caesar at his signature Everest in October.

A sample of the dishes, tasting menus and special events offered as part of the Culinary Complete Works include:

  • Nicole Pederson at Amy Morton's Found Kitchen and Social House in Evanston creates a whimsical tasting menu inspired by Twelfth Night, available in the summer in conjunction with the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks production of the same play. Menu highlights include: “Viola’s Lost Twin” (Locally Made Meade: Muddled and Confounded); "The Trencher” (Hewn Bread, Bandaged Cheddar, Chutney and Pickled Asparagus); and “A Page’s Disguise” (Braised Lamb Shank and Seared Loin, Foraged Ramps, Fiddle head Ferns and Morels).
  • John Manion of La Sirena Clandestina channels Othello mirroring the run of Chicago Shakespeare’s production through April 10. His dish—Grilled Chicken Hearts with Kale Tabbouleh, Feta and Smoked Eggplant Puree—pays homage to the influence of Cyprus on Brazilian cuisine. Manion adds, “Nothing could be more emblematic of blind jealousy than a skewered heart.”
  • EL Ideas chef Phillip Foss serves up the “double, double, toil and trouble” of Macbeth with a diabolic witch’s brew—a gastronomic take on French Fries and Bubbling Ice Cream, available in May.
  • Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge of Autre Monde Café and Spirits will host a one-night-only event in September themed around The Two Gentlemen of Verona, featuring a 5-course menu with wine pairings, inspired by a trip from Verona to Milan with culinary stops along the way. The restaurant has teamed up with the neighboring 16th Street Theater to include a performative element throughout the evening.
  • Monteverde chef Sarah Grueneberg playfully interprets The Comedy of Errors in July with a dish comprised of two types of pasta representing the two sets of twins: Ephesus Ravioli (lamb, charred onion, yogurt, paprika) and Syracuse Ravioli (eggplant caponata, ricotta, golden raisins, heirloom tomato). The raviolis will look the same on the outside so diners will not know which they are eating, leading to delight and surprise with each bite.
  • Art Jackson at Pleasant House Bakery takes on Titus Andronicus in the summer, refashioning the play’s signature pies as The Titus Andronicus Royal Pie: A Roman-style braised pork pie with blood pudding, fennel, olives, spelt and spices.

Of the multidisciplinary artistic endeavor, Rick Boynton shares, “What other artist but Shakespeare could inspire a collaboration between the culinary and theater worlds for an undertaking of this scale. Each chef will explore one of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, tragedies or romances, giving diners a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste the passion, humor, love and forgiveness of these timeless works. It’s surprising, clever and so essentially Chicago.”

Culinary Complete Works curator Alpana Singh is a leading voice in Chicago’s world-class culinary scene, as proprietor and master sommelier of The Boarding House, Seven Lions and (opening later this year) Terra & Vine. At age 27, she became the youngest woman to ever earn the Master Sommelier designation. For ten seasons, Singh served as the host of the Emmy Award-winning restaurant review television show, Check, Please!, on WTTW Channel 11, where she also appears frequently on Chicago Tonight in her ongoing segment, “Ask Alpana.” Nationally, Alpana has appeared on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, as well as in Food & Wine, Wine Spectator and Bon Appétit.

Culinary Complete Works pairs together the world of food and Shakespeare, two entities that have an enormous ability to unify us under a common interest and cause,” said curator Alpana Singh. “No other city in the world has ever done this before and I think it is befitting of Chicago as we continue to push forward in the world of the arts—be it with food or onstage. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this effort that showcases the best of what our beloved City has to offer.”

Reflecting the incredible breadth of cuisine in Chicago’s restaurant scene, the full line-up of participating chefs for Culinary Complete Works includes:

  • Ashlee Aubin, Salero – Richard II (June–August)
  • Tanya Baker, The Boarding House – The Taming of the Shrew (August)
  • Jill Barron, Mana Food Bar – Two Noble Kinsmen
  • Rick Bayless, Topolobampo – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (October)
  • Kevin Cuddihee, TWO – Antony and Cleopatra (April)
  • Jimmy Ferguson, Jimmy Jamm’s Sweet Potato Café – The Merry Wives of Windsor (April)
  • Phillip Foss, EL Ideas – Macbeth (May)
  • Luigi Garcia, RIVA Crab House – Henry VI, Part 2 (September–October)
  • Carlos Gaytan, Mexique – Richard III (Summer)
  • Cameron Grant, Osteria Langhe – King John (June)
  • Danny Grant, Maple & Ash – Pericles (May)
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde – The Comedy of Errors (July)
  • Kevin Hickey, The Duck Inn – Henry IV, Part 2
  • Art Jackson, Pleasant House Bakery – Titus Andronicus (Summer)
  • J. Joho, Everest – Julius Caesar (October)
  • Paul Kahan and Perry Hendrix, avec – The Tempest (July–August)
  • Michael Kornick, DMK Restaurants – The Merchant of Venice (August)
  • John Manion, La Sirena Clandestina – Othello (February–April)
  • Tony Mantuano, Café Spiagga – Romeo and Juliet (May–August)
  • Ryan McCaskey, Acadia – The Winter’s Tale (June)
  • Matthias Merges, A10 and Billy Sunday – Henry VI, Part 1
  • Carrie Nahabedian, Naha – Measure for Measure (July)
  • Jessica Oloroso, Black Dog Gelato – Hamlet (Summer)
  • Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge, Autre Monde Café and Spirits – The Two Gentlemen of Verona (September)
  • Chris Pandel, Swift & Sons – Henry VI, Part 3
  • Nicole Pederson, Found Kitchen and Social House – Twelfth Night (May–June)
  • Ajay Popli and Nelson Vinansaca, Arami – As You Like It (August)
  • Tony Priolo, Piccolo Sogno – Troilus and Cressida (March–June)
  • Tigist Reda, Demera Ethiopian Restaurant – Henry VIII (May)
  • Iliana Regan, Elizabeth – Cymbeline (Summer)
  • Cardel Reid, The Signature Room – Love’s Labor’s Lost (May–August)
  • Mindy Segal, Mindy’s HotChocolate – All’s Well That Ends Well 
  • Pat Sheerin, Trenchermen – Timon of Athens (July)
  • Bruce Sherman, North Pond – Much Ado About Nothing (Summer)
  • Art Smith, Blue Door Kitchen & Garden – King Lear (July)
  • Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster – Coriolanus (June–July)
  • Tom Van Lente, White Oak Tavern & Inn – Henry IV, Part 1 (October)
  • Paul Virant, Vie – Henry V (September)

Details on each chef's Culinary Complete Works participation dates, and information on securing reservations can be found on:

Press ready photos of sample dishes and chefs are available for download in the CST Press Room.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a global theatrical force, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. Throughout 2016, CST is spearheading the international arts and culture festival, Shakespeare 400 Chicago, a citywide celebration of the playwright's 400-year legacy. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. CST serves as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, 30,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city it calls home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago, and has toured its plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada/North America and the Middle East.
CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. The Theater’s tradition of excellence and civic leadership has been honored with numerous national and international awards, including the Regional Theatre Tony Award, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and eighty total Joseph Jefferson Awards. CST’s work with Chicago Public School students and teachers was recognized by the White House in 2014 with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. Among its many international engagements, CST participated in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2006 Complete Works Festival and was selected to represent North America at the Globe to Globe festival as part of London’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Shakespeare 400 Chicago is a yearlong international arts festival in 2016 celebrating the vibrancy, relevance and reach of Shakespeare. As the world commemorates the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Shakespeare 400 Chicago engages more than 500,000 Chicagoans and visitors to the City through 850 events. Spearheaded by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and with leading support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, and the Julius Frankel Foundation, this quadricentennial celebration is anticipated to be the world’s largest and most comprehensive celebration of Shakespeare’s enduring legacy.

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