— As we continue our visit to Chicago, executive chef Heather Terhune of Atwood Café allowed us to abscond with the recipe for one of the signature dishes on her menu, which features such tempting comfort-food delights as roasted banana and white chocolate bread pudding with banana caramel; sesame crusted ahi tuna with Asian slaw and wasabi vinaigrette; and, of course, chicken pot pie. The menu is comprised of upscale American comfort food inspired by local and seasonal ingredients and is served in a decoratively dramatic dining room with 18-foot ceilings and windows, brass chandeliers, ruby velvet drapes, black lacquered columns and velvet chairs and sofas — providing the perfect setting to enjoy the luxurious yet comforting fare on offer at Atwood.
About the chef: Heather Terhune spent the last decade as an executive chef in Chicago, but her culinary career has much simpler roots anchored in her hometown of St. Albans, Vt. Heather's family knew something was up when she asked for artichokes and spare ribs as a fourth-birthday present. "I've known from an early age that I wanted to be a chef and never wavered in that endeavor," she said.
Terhune is a major supporter of sustainable and organic agriculture, including Chicago's own Green City Market. She also enjoys traveling, having spent September 2007 in Italy on a hard-earned sabbatical. "I rented a house in Tuscany for two weeks and explored northern Italy — it changed my perspective completely," she said. "I still work hard, but I put friends and family first and I don't sweat the small stuff quite as much. As far as the culinary aspect of it, my food became more clean, simple and more alive after that trip. I did, too."
1 W. Washington St. (corner of State and Washington)
Chicago, IL 60602