Chicago Tribune Dining Awards 2015

Chicago Tribune Honors mfk. with 2015 Dining Award!

Chicago Tribune Dining Awards 2015

It used to be that the door separating kitchen from dining room was more than a physical barrier. It separated cultures. Faceless chefs toiled in hot and loud kitchens, while diners ate comfortably in climate-controlled rooms. Food, from frying pan to finished plate, was an anonymous transaction.

You can argue that the chef as personality — really, only a recent phenomenon — has glamorized a once-blue-collar job to a profession seemingly more rock ‘n’ roll. The upside is that by knowing chefs as people, with all their quirks, peculiarities and intentions, us diners get a better understanding of the food they put out. It has made the restaurant experience richer, more personal.

This is our favorite issue of the year. We get to tell you about the people who’ve made Chicago dining in the past year delicious and memorable.

— Kevin Pang, Chicago Tribune

2015 Chicago Tribune Dining Award: The restaurant team behind Lakeview’s mfk.

Sari Zernich Worsham, Scott Worsham and Nick Lacasse of mfk. restaurant Chicago

What owners Scott Worsham and Sari Zernich-Worsham created out of a mere 750 square feet of space should qualify them for an Ikea award.

But clever design isn’t what has Chicagoans clamoring for one of mfk’s 28 seats; it’s the cheerful decor (remarkably sunny for a dining room that’s below street level), the genial, laid-back vibe from the owners and the skilled cooking of chef Nick Lacasse, who executes mfk’s Spanish-inspired, seafood-rich menu.

Munch on some boquerones, sample the brandade and monkfish-liver plate, finish by sharing the cobia-collar fisherman’s stew, and try saying this isn’t one of the best restaurants to come along in 2014.

— Phil Vettel

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