Sepia, Chicago, IL
Growing up in New York in the ’80′s, Andrew Zimmerman’s childhood goal was a fairly common one – he wanted to be a rock star. Though he played around in the kitchen, he pursued his musical goal into his early 20′s, supporting his dream by working in local restaurant kitchens. Over the years, he realized not only was he a better cook than musician, but that the kitchen was his true calling. He began taking cooking seriously and soon was working as sous chef under Renato Sommelia, whom he cites as one of his strongest culinary mentors. Three years later, he enrolled in the prestigious French Culinary Institute and graduated first in his class in 2000. He never looked back.
In 2003, Zimmerman moved to Chicago – drawn by the abundance of world-class restaurants, the food-centric nature of the city and the fact that Chicago is his wife Lindsey’s hometown, he accepted a position at the Park Hyatt Chicago, working alongside Sandro Gamba. In 2004, he was hired by restaurateur Terry Alexander as Executive Chef for MOD. In 2009, Emmanuel Nony hired him as the Executive Chef for Sepia where he continues to evolve his distinctive style – one that is direct, seasonally based and primarily Mediterranean influenced. He earned his first Michelin Star in 2011.