chef-name: Paul Virant

Since opening his flagship restaurant Vie in Western Springs, IL, in 2004, Chef Paul Virant has risen to nationwide acclaim for his contemporary Midwestern cuisine that emphasizes innovative canned and preserved ingredients. His philosophy of local, seasonal eating stems from techniques he learned on his family’s farm in Missouri that continue to spark his creativity today.

In addition to Michelin‐starred Vie, he brings his culinary prowess to the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood as partner and executive chef of Boka Restaurant Group’s Perennial Virant, which he opened in 2011, followed by the J. Parker, the rooftop lounge and bar, both located at Hotel Lincoln. In 2012, Virantʹs award‐winning fare culminated into the release of his first cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre‐Doux, offering the first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin‐starred chef that creatively combines the technical aspects of canning with a chefʹs expertise on flavor.

Virant’s accolades include: a 2013 finalist and a 2011 nominee for James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Great Lakes, 2007 Best New Chef by Food & Wine, 2007 Jean Banchet Award for Culinary Excellence as Top Celebrity Chef, and 2005 Best New Chef by Chicago magazine in 2005. He has also competed on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Vie earned its Michelin star in 2011.

Here, Virant shares his philosophy on how to get the most out of seasonal ingredients with thoughtful and creative preservation.