chef-name: Gabriel Viti

Gabriel Viti was born in Illinois in 1963 to a family who had been in the restaurant business for 100 years. In high school he worked for restaurateur Arnie Morton (Morton’s, Arnold & Eddie’s Key Club, Playboy Clubs & Hotel, and Arnold Morton’s) in Chicago, then went to the Culinary Institute right out of school. Upon graduation in 1986, he apprenticed throughout Europe for six years at Point’s La Pyramide and Michel Guerard in France, Joel Robuchon in Paris, Freddy Girardet in Switzerland, and San Domenico in Italy.

When he returned to the U.S., he became one of the Corporate Chefs for Chicago’s Rich Melman’s Lettuce Entertainment Group, then left to work as sous chef for Great Chef Roland Liccioni at Carlos’ in Highwood, just north of Chicago, where he eventually became Executive Chef.

In 1993 he opened his first restaurant, Gabriel’s in the same town. Great Chefs Television caught up with him in 1994 to prepare three dishes: a Crespelle appetizer (episode #80) for their Great Chefs-Great Cities television series; and a Sea Bass en Papillotte entrée (episode #142) and a Crousillant dessert (episode #110) for their Great Chefs of America series.

In 2004, Chef Viti opened Miramar Bistro, a French bistro with Cuban accents in downtown Highwood, Illinois.

Chef Gabriel Viti is an avid sportsman who completed the Ironman Brazil Triathalon in 2007 and ran the marathon on the Great Wall of China in 2008. He also enjoys mountain climbing, including Mount Rainier, the Matterhorn in the Alps and Mount Blanc. In 2012, while training with his trainer for climbing K2 in Pakistan, he decided he couldn’t give his clientele what they needed, run two restaurants and train to swim the English Channel, so he closed Gabriel’s on July 21, 2012, after almost 20 years. Most of his employees were moved over to Miramar Bistro.