Meet Our Chefs
Chef Jesus has done it all; from dishwashing to cooking, to menu creation. Starting his journey over 20 years ago at Vivaldi, an Italian restaurant in Downer’s Grove, he realized there was not much opportunity for growth and so he brought his aspirations to the city. He began working at Ambria, a French restaurant in Lincoln Park, under chef/owner Gabino Sotelino. It was here that Jesus learned to appreciate every ingredient, no matter how large or small.
Jesus then moved on to work under some of the greatest Italian chefs in the city, including Chef Tony Mantuano at Spiaggia and Chef Scott Harris and Chef Massimo Salatino at Mia Francesca’s. Jesus has been in charge of menu development at Disotto Enoteca, supervised a kitchen team at Davanti Enoteca, and eventually became the regional chef for the Mia Franchesca’s Group.
Jesus also spent many years working for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE). He was on the opening team for RPM Italian and RPM Steak. He oversaw 3 more LEYE openings and helped trained the back of house staff and chefs on company procedures and protocol before returning back to RPM. His greatest mentor has been Chef Douglas Psaltis, who he worked very closely with. Psaltis set a high bar of culinary standards and showed Jesus that there is beauty in the simplicity of Italian food.
A professional chef with 13 years of experience in a wide range of different cuisines, Juan Ramirez is a hardworking and determined man who excels at motivating his staff to perform to their best abilities. His commitment to excellence radiates throughout the kitchen, as does his ability to create recipes consisting of unique and flavorful ingredients.
Chef Juan went on to work for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) for 6 years. When he was the lead employee at RPM Italian, he was able to utilize his leadership skills; opening and closing the restaurant, supervising employees and assisting in the menu creation.
From RPM Italian, Juan went on to work as Sous Chef at Paris Club, performing many similar duties but in a completely new space. He came back to RPM Italian as Sous Chef and eventually became Divisional Sous Chef for LEYE where he oversaw the entire kitchen for Shaw’s Crab House, Tokyo Pub and Oyster Bah.
Juan’s latest endeavor was with Francesca’s Restaurant Group, as the Executive Chef for Disotto. There, Juan was responsible for any and all menu changes, recipe and menu creation, and planning wine dinners. Juan’s persistence in following through to ensure every detail is attended to is commendable, and a large part in what makes Juan such an asset in a restaurant team.