TIM + GENIE

As I set up my photography gear, Tim and Genie calmly discuss the dishes that they will be preparing for our photoshoot, outlining each step of their process. I can’t help but notice how tranquil their tones are – it’s like they’ve had a million of these types of conversations before.

Both Tim and Genie fell into the culinary industry. Tim originally majored in communication design, but after his friend Carlos Matias got him his first restaurant job washing dishes at GT Fish & Oyster, he stuck with it. Genie’s first restaurant job was as a barista in a bakery off the Newbury College campus in Boston.

The concept of their restaurant has evolved, but they always knew that they wanted to open their own place. They started asking themselves what Chicago needed and what they landed on was a Filipino restaurant with a French-inspired bakery. The idea is to have this be a neighborhood spot that you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry or you can have a nicer dinner with a group of friends or a date.

Tim and Genie resonate quiet confidence that speaks volumes about who they are. They are humble, talented and hardworking.  I admire their work and can’t wait to see what their final concept is.

TIM

  • Favorite restaurant in Chicago?: J.J. Thai Street Food
  • Best meal you’ve ever had?: Estela in NYC
  • Do you bake?: I bake occasionally for some dishes. Usually, if I want to try something I’ll do some research, compare and contrast to figure out what the best technique is. Then I’ll consult with Genie. She’ll give me tips along the way.
  • Do you cook at home a lot?: We do cook a lot at home, but it’s not as glamorous as you would think. Most of the time we’re eating scrambled eggs, kimchi, and rice. We also eat a lot of Chili Mac.
  • How do you unwind?: I was a collegiate wrestler. So I’ll go to open mats and help coach high school wrestlers. I also practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When sparring or competing in either sport you really can’t think of anything else. You’re so focused that everything else going on gets blocked out. Which is super helpful for me because I can get a bit obsessive overwork. Spending time with family is a big thing for me as well. 
  • What advice can you give people aspiring to be a chef?: Be aware of the big picture. Figure out what your career goals are. Whether it is to be an executive chef, chef/owner, a producer of some sort; you have to get a grasp of every aspect it takes to be in that position. For me, I understood from the beginning that running a restaurant is not just about the food.

GENIE

  • Favorite restaurant in Chicago?: There are too many.  Current favorite is a tiny place called Las Gorditas de Don Angel.
  • Favorite bakeries in the city?: Lost Larson, Cafe Marie Jeanne (even though they aren’t well known for their pastries) Floriole, Cellar Door Provisions
  • Best meal you’ve ever had?: Estela in NYC
  • How do you unwind?: We try and spend as much time with family as we can.  We have different interests that keep us active and independent. ie: Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for Tim and Aerial silks for me.
  • What advice can you give people aspiring to be a chef? Set goals for yourself and find a good mentor. Don’t be blinded by ego. We cook food to feed people. No matter what happens in your career it can still be that simple.

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