Culinary Creations — Local Chefs Reveal Their Secrets

July 2012 View more

Sizzlin’ up summer culinary sensations. Naperville area top chefs bring their personality to the plate and share their must-have recipes.

Chef Filemon Ochoa

Executive Chef at Meson Sabika


Chef Filemon Ochoa has been an integral part of the culinary success of Meson Sabika since it opened in 1990. Born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, Ochoa was surrounded by the elements of cooking at a young age. He has since been recognized with many culinary honors.

  • Culinary inspiration: Watching my grandmother make all the traditional dishes from scrap inspired me to choose this career path.
  • Guilty food pleasure: Cheese is something I cannot give up.
  • Food item you can’t live without: Rosemary and Thyme when they are fresh from the garden.
  • Hobbies: Fishing

Chef Patrick McLaughlin

Executive Chef at Parkers’ Restaurant


Chef Patrick McLaughlin dishes up sumptuous cuisine of land and sea, prepared with ingredients derived from fresh American sources at Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar in Downers Grove. McLaughlin traces his love for cuisine to his days in college while working at the Park Hyatt in Chicago.

  • Culinary inspiration: I was sitting in philosophy class and all I could think about was that the pheasants were coming to the restaurant that day. How were we going prepare them, maybe with Belgian endives? It hit me that my place was in the kitchen.
  • Guilty food pleasure: Anything late night that is bad for you.
  • Food item you can’t live without: I like Fernand Point’s quote, “Butter, give me butter!” Now its extra virgin olive oil.
  • Hobbies: Scuba diving, hanging out with my children, teaching culinary students and of course reading not only history books, but culinary cook books.

Chef Eddie Sweeney

Executive Chef at Catch 35


Chef Eddie Sweeney is the Executive Chef at Taste America Restaurants, which owns Catch 35 and Llyods. Sweeney started his culinary career as oyster server in a seafood restaurant in Tinley Park and worked his way up to sous chef.

  • Culinary inspiration: I always liked to cook when I was growing up, now it’s my career.
  • Guilty food pleasure: Pork belly sandwiches, high quality Danish pastries, and McDonald’s.
  • Food item you can’t live without: Butter, with cheese a close second.
  • Hobbies: Relaxing at home with my wife, Beth, and our two boys, Oliver and Elliot.

Chef Terrell Cole

Executive Chef at Sullivan’s Steakhouse


Chef Terrell Cole has always had a fascination with the culinary arts. As executive chef at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Cole adds his personality and expertise to the vibrant menu of hand-selected steaks and seafood.

  • Culinary inspiration: I watched my grandmother make biscuits and it always calmed her down. Seemed like cooking was a really good thing, since she was the calmest when she was in the kitchen.
  • Guilty food pleasure: I enjoy grilled cheese. Nothing fancy.
  • Food item you can’t live without: Chocolate!
  • Hobbies: When I’m not cooking I like to dance, play guitar, go out and socialize with friends, bowl, and play with my dogs.

Chef for a Day

Try the Recipes from the Best of Naperville

Chef Filemon Ochoa

Executive Chef at Meson Sabika

Salpicon De Mariscos

Serving: 4-6 people


7 ounces shrimp (deveined)

7 ounces squid rings

7 ounces bay scallops

4 ounces diced red pepper

4 ounces diced green pepper

4 ounces diced yellow pepper

3 ounces diced red onion

4 chopped garlic cloves

1 jalapeno pepper (deveined)

1 ounce chopped cilantro (if you like cilantro, add another ounce)

3 ounces sherry vinegar

2 lemons squeezed

2 limes squeezed

Add crushed black pepper to taste

Add salt to taste

5 ounces extra virgin olive oil


Boil water and add 5 ounces of white wine, 2 bay leafs, 1/2 sliced yellow onion, a pinch of crushed red pepper. Let simmer for five minutes. Add cleaned seafood for three minutes — let simmer (medium rare). Strain seafood and place on platter. Do not rinse seafood. Place platter on top of ice. Chill for five minutes. Then place seafood in refrigerator until ready to use. Do not refrigerator longer than two days.

To complete, add shrimp, squid, scallops into a serving bowl with crushed black pepper, salt and mix with sherry vinegar. Add diced red onion, chopped garlic, jalapeno and cilantro. Add all peppers, lemon juice, lime juice and mix. Add the olive oil when ready to serve.

Chef Patrick McLaughlin

Executive Chef at Parkers’ Restaurant

Prosciutto de Parma wrapped Wild Alaskan Halibut Artichoke, English Peas and Peapods in Barigoule


Yield 4 portions


2 (36 count) artichokes

1 carrots, channel knifed, sliced thin

2 celery innermost, stalks, biased cut sliced thin

1 white onion, center only, sliced thin

1 shallots, sliced thin

1 sachet*

1 quart water, 1 quart to hold raw artichokes

1 cup lemon juice

2 fresh lemons cut in half

1 quart white wine

1 quart extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons of salt

* 1 sachet= 4 bay leaves, 6 black peppercorn, 1/4 bunch fresh thyme, 1/4 bunch parsley steams. Wash and wrap in cheesecloth and tie with string.


Mix 1-quart water and 1-cup lemon juice to hold artichokes. Run sharp paring knife and melon baller over a lemon. Carefully peel artichokes leaves off until you can see the yellow of the heart and cut off top ½ inch above the heart, peel away stem and cut off bottom. Place in lemon water. Remove from water and scoop out center “fur” with melon baller. Cut into 6–8 wedges, place back in water. Work quickly!

Heat olive oil in stainless steel pot big enough to hold everything. Add artichokes and toss until artichokes are evenly coated, add the rest of the vegetables, water, wine, salt and the sachet. Simmer until carrots still have a slight crunch then pour the entire mixture into a plastic container and place in water or ice bath to chill.

Wild Alaskan Halibut


4, 6 ounce Halibut fillets

4 long or 8 short slices Prosciutto de Parma

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

1/16 teaspoon black pepper, fresh cracked

1/4 cup fresh blanched English peas

6 julienne peapods

1 tablespoon fresh basil chiffonade

4 cups bairgoule


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season halibut fillets with fresh cracked black pepper and the chopped thyme. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap long enough to lay the prosciutto on it. Lay out the prosciutto and place the halibut on one side and roll the fillet up using the plastic wrap, this can be done ahead of time. (Don’t add salt to the fillet, you will get it from the prosciutto).

In a stainless steel or ceramic pan heat the extra virgin olive oil and sear the prosciutto wrapped halibut on all sides then remove from the pan. Add the barigoule. Bring to a simmer then return the fish to the pan and keep warm. Cover and bake in the oven for eight minutes. Remove fish from pan and add the basil, English peas, and pea pods to the barigoule. Bring to a simmer. Adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper. Place vegetables on the bottom of a bowl and add the halibut. Pour sauce over the fish and serve.

Chef Eddie Sweeney

Executive Chef at Catch 35

Arctic Char with Rye Crust

Serving: Five, 7-8 ounce filets

Rye Crust:

1 pound butter

1 quart rye crumbs

2 tablespoons caraway seeds

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper


Soften butter in mixer with paddle. Add remaining ingredients, mix until crumbly.

Pastrami Potatoes:

2-1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes

1-1/2 cups minced corned beef

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup mayo

1/2 cup cocktail sauce


Toss together ingredients, roast at 300 degrees until potatoes are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

Thousand Island Hollandaise:

1 pound melted butter

1 lemon (for juice)

4 egg yolks

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 dill pickle minced

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce


Mix together hollandaise sauce with butter, juice, egg yolks, salt. Wisk in remaining ingredients.

Spinach & Mushroom Mix:

1 pound oyster mushroom

sautéed spinach

Olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 garlic

Finishing Instructions:

Salt and pepper the Char. Dip in flour. Sear on the flesh side, flip and add rye crust. Add one serving of potatoes to sauté pan. Finish in oven for approximately five minutes. Meanwhile, sauté spinach, add garlic, roasted oyster mushrooms, salt, and pepper. To the plate: Put spinach and mushroom mix in center of plate, add hot potatoes to plate, top with the fish. Add thousand island hollandaise around the fish. Serve.

Chef Terrell Cole

Executive Chef at Sullivan’s Steakhouse

White Chocolate Carrot Cupcakes


4 eggs

1-1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 can sliced peaches

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 cups carrots shredded

1 cup walnuts chopped (or any nut)

1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder


Combine wet ingredients into a bowl. After combining dry ingredients in a separate bowl, mix all ingredients together. Fill cupcakes 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Enjoy!