On today’s show, we have chef Bernie Laskowski on again to chat more about getting out of the Marine Corps and becoming one of the best chefs in Chicago.
We talk more about:
- Bernie’s life
- Everything he went through to climb to the top of the Chicago food scene
This show is part two, so if you have not listened to the episode prior, please go back and listen to that.
Enjoy the show,
Chef Bernard Laskowski’s lifelong passion for food has led him on a journey working in and leading some of Chicago’s most prestigious kitchens. He most recently helmed the kitchen at the notable Park Grill restaurant in Chicago’s Millennium Park, where he presented award-winning American fare for eight years.
Laskowski’s career began several years earlier at the Le Ceil Bleu in the Mayfair Regent Hotel in Chicago, where he learned the fundamentals of classic French-style cooking. He later landed a position in the pastry kitchen under Chef Jean Joho at Chicago’s Everest Room while studying culinary arts at Kendall College. Inspired by the patience and precision of Chef Joho’s kitchen, Laskowski decided to continue his learning abroad and set on a trip through France and Italy, where he practiced and absorbed artisanal food-making techniques.
Upon his return to Chicago, Laskowski accepted the position of sous chef at Marché, working under chef Michael Kornick; this was the beginning of a relationship that brought him to work with Kornick as the executive sous chef at Red Light in 1996 and once again later in his career. Following his time at Red Light, Laskowski joined Chef Mark Baker as senior sous chef at The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.
In 1999, Laskowski was tapped to open the award-winning BIN 36, where wine director Brian Duncan’s amiable approach to wine broadened Laskowski’s knowledge and understanding of food and wine pairings. He stayed for two years before rejoining Michael Kornick as the corporate executive chef and partner at mk Chicago and mk North, where he where he oversaw the culinary program for the two, 3-star dining establishments and their onsite catering programs. He stayed until 2003 before moving to Park Grill.
Laskowski looked at opening the Park Grill in Millennium Park as a challenge but also as a personal culinary adventure. A lifelong Chicagoan, Laskowski had grown just a few miles from New Park and enjoyed being able to be part of a Historic Establishment that would turn into the Number Tourist Destination in Chicago He designed the 3 award winning food and beverage outlets to feature Seasonal Local Chicago American Cuisine reflecting the diverse ethnic Cultures that represent Chicago. In the 8 years at the Park Grill, Laskowski received numerous accolades local and national, the most prestigious being asked to showcase his Cuisine at the James Beard House in New York.
In 2011 Laskowski was approached by a former neighbor and asked to prepare food for his new business venture Crossfit Oswego. A natural connection between his food style and sourcing occurred and Cinderella Paleo Prepared Meals was conceived. “we started cooking for 6 people and quickly grew it to encompass the western suburbs.” Laskowski was able to bring his love for fitness and food and turn it into a successful business.
Cinderella Paleo quickly caught the attention of similar prepared meal companies with their philosophy and food program that emphasized hyper-local and seasonal menus changing each week. ” work out in the morning then drive 10 minutes down the road to visit local farmers who would show us what they had available.” Laskowski states. Kept with the community ethos that is part of the functional fitness affiliates. “We were able to meet and listen to all of our client’s requests through the local competition circuit, they made us feel like we were part of their family.” Laskowski kept fueling the restaurant creative ideas in a journal which would help create his next business venture Craft Urban Restaurant in Geneva Il.