South Water Kitchen
Standing On the Shoulders of Giants
Chef Roger Waysok grew up in a city that built from the ground up its own culinary culture. Even the name Chicago speaks to food. Chicagaoua is the word the Native Americans used for the plant, similar to a wild onion or garlic, which sprouted up around Lake Michigan. But to the point, Chicago didn't borrow its cooking pedigree from another region in the United States. There was no copying or duplication of styles. When you say Chicago cuisine, you are speaking specifically about dishes born here.
Chicago owes much of its culinary history to its vast melting pop of civilizations that came here from around the world. Italians, Poles, Puerto Rican, African American… each carted their recipes and kitchen styles with them. From those family trees ultimately emerged names like Charlie Trotter, Rick Tramonto, Grant Achatz and Rick Bayless. These chefs have since become synonymous with cutting-edge flavors and approaches, all the while carrying their personal Chicago banner.
The Windy City is also the birthplace of – you ready for this? – Twinkies, Cracker Jacks, Cream of Wheat, Shredded Wheat, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, and Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Gum. Then of course there's the famous Chicago deep-dish pizza, created by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, and the infamous Chicago-style hot dog, which came into being as a "meal on a bun" during the Great Depression.
Today, you'll find more than 20 Michelin-starred restaurants scattered about the city, as well as a spectrum of specialty eateries that cater to tastes of every nature and calling.