Chef and partner Paul Kahan has become the nationally recognizable face of Chicago chefs. Passionately seasonal, unconventionally creative and dedicated to the inspiration of classical cuisine, Kahan has received international acclaim for Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star, Publican Quality Meats, Dove’s Luncheonette, Publican Quality Bread, Publican Tavern O’Hare. Awarded Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2013, Winner: Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2014 and Winner: Best Chefs in America in 2004, Kahan has earned the praise of many who claim him to be one of America’s most influential working chefs. In 2018, his cookbook “Cheers to the Publican, Repast and Present: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall,” won the IACP award in the “chefs and restaurants” category. In 2019, Kahan released his second book, ‘Cooking For Good Times,” which was named ‘One of The Best Cookbooks Of The Year’ by the New York Times Book Review. A Chicagoan through and through, Kahan is known for developing relationships with Midwestern farmers—leaving a permanent mark on his culinary outlook.
After working in various kitchens across Chicago, he honed his craft at Topolobampo under the tutelage of the award-winning chef Rick Bayless. In 1997 he opened Blackbird and trailblazed the West Loop as a dining district alongside his three partners, receiving praise from national critics and diners alike. Shortly thereafter, Food & Wine placed Kahan on their Best New Chefs list, recognizing his highly individual approach to cooking and the talent that Chicago diners have celebrated for years. Despite accolades and adoration, Kahan’s biggest accomplishment remains his work as a mentor for young chefs. Kahan is a passionate supporter of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for pediatric cancer research, as well as Pilot Light, an organization dedicated to enhancing school children’s perception of food through hands-on education. Paul Kahan is a devoted husband to his wife Mary, an ardent music lover and bike aficionado.