So who is Chef Paul Kahan? Where do I start?! Here's a great summary:
Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan has become the nationally recognizable face for a new guard of Chicago chefs With an ever-growing list of international accolades for Blackbird, Avec and The Publican, Kahan was honored by his selection as a James Beard nominee of Outstanding Chef in 2007 and 2009, and winner of James Beard Best Chef of the Midwest in 2004. Passionately seasonal, unconventionally creative and dedicated to the inspiration of classical cuisine, Kahan has earned the praise of many who claim him to be one of America's most influential working chefs.
In 1999, shortly after Blackbird opened, Food & Wine placed Kahan on its Best New Chefs list, recognizing his highly individual approach to cooking and the talent that Chicago diners have celebrated for years. Years of accolades and awards followed until, in 2007, Kahan was honored with a nomination for James Beard Outstanding Chef, an amazing achievement for a chef from a small restaurant without a cookbook or TV show to promote his name nationally.
If you're a fan of Bravo's Top Chef cooking competition show, you may have seen Chef Paul Kahan as a guest judge. Speaking of which, Top Chef judge, Chef Tom Colicchio has even named Chef Paul Kahan as one of his favorite chefs in the U.S.! There's so much to like about Chef Paul Kahan. He is passionate about Chicago and sourcing ingredients locally if at all possible. He speaks of his wife fondly as he shares how much they love cooking together as often as possible. And of course, he makes some amazing bouillabaisse.
This bouillabaisse is one that is popular on the restaurant's lunch menu. It's beautifully aromatic thanks to the fresh notes of citrus and fennel. The rich color is as a result of just a pinch of saffron and tomatoes. But the best part of this dish is the seafood. A flavorful fish fumet (fish stock) adds elevated seafood notes and the fresh seafood added towards the end of the dish just puts it over the edge. This is one soup that's easily a meal and is wonderful to enjoy during these cooler months.