Michelin-starred Spiaggia Names New Executive Chef
Chef Tony Mantuano’s famed Chicago restaurants, Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia, have found a new executive chef. Chef Eric Lees, a three-year veteran of the restaurant group, will take over the kitchens on October 1.
“Eric is a chef who embodies the passion for Italian cuisine and the artistic mind needed to lead this culinary charge,” Mantuano said in a statement. “His skill level, combined with his consistent culinary vision and charisma, are what make me so proud to see him next in line as executive chef.”
Lees’ appointment comes a little over a month after former "Top Chef" contestant and current executive chef Joe Flamm announced his departure from Spiaggia. Flamm plans on opening his own restaurant in Chicago, Eater reported.
Before joining the Spiaggia team in 2016, Lees was a part of James Beard Award-winning chef Mathias Merges’ teams for his acclaimed restaurants A10 and Yusho in Chicago. His formal training took place at Le Cordon Blue in Minneapolis.
Lees’ new role as executive chef will allow him to put his own touch on the menu while maintaining the restaurant’s reputation. Following in Mantuano’s footsteps, Lees recently took a trip through Italy to research flavors and techniques he hopes to incorporate into future menus, the company said in a statement.
“His love for fresh seafood and sourcing unique varietals of the best local ingredients will bring his personal signature to the dining experience,” the company said.
Lees is expected to roll out his first menu at Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia on October 25.