Grillable Greats—Naperville area chefs turn up the heat on summer grilling

July 2013 View more


Grilling season is in full force. It’s time to get out of the kitchen and head outside to add some flavor to your next cookout. Naperville Magazine asked five top chefs for their favorite summery fare. So, gather your friends and family, crank up the grill, and light the coals, it’s time to get cooking.

Patrick McLaughlin — Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar


Renowned and honored for his commitment to local and sustainable sourcing, Chef Pat McLaughlin began his culinary journey at a bakery outside Philadelphia at the age of 12. As a line cook at age 16, McLaughlin discovered a passion for dishes derived from an eclectic mix of styles and cultures, a passion that is expressed today in the dishes he creates for guests at Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar. McLaughlin works to help support charitable organizations, instruct culinary students, and educate staff and guests on sustainable practices. He is certified by Authentic VPN Pizza Napoletana and has introduced prime steak, duck and pasta into the new Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar menu. Recently, he received recognition as one of the country’s top culinary talents by Best Chefs America, a peer review guide of U.S. chefs.

What I enjoy about grilling:

Grilling is an activity that epitomizes summer. When you grill, you are usually grilling with family and friends. So, when I think of grilling—I think of sunshine, the smell of the grill, family, friends and beer.

Charcoal grilled salmon with asparagus, fingerling potato, fennel and baby sorrel, meyer lemon-cardamom

Serves four 

4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
1/2 pound asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/2 pound evenly sized fingerling potatoes, washed
4–6 baby fennel, washed and trimmed
1 cup baby sorrel
1/2 cup baby arugula
1 cup chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
6 Meyer lemons split
1/8 cup honey
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/8 cup crème fraîche
1 cup carrot juice
1 shallot, chopped fine
1/8 cup white wine
3 green cardamom seeds

Vegetables and SalmonN2013_07_01_079LARGE

Preheat oven to 375˚

Season and place fennel in tight fitting casserole dish, barely cover fennel with chicken stock, add a sprig of thyme, bake at 375˚ for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and transfer fennel to shallow sheet pan and cover with cooking juices and cool. Blanch asparagus in salted water, remove and dip into ice bath to cool quickly, remove and dry, season with salt and pepper, and lemon juice, this can be done ahead of time.

Heat grill. Toss potatoes with salt, pepper and olive oil and place on the grill. Toss often to prevent burning, move to warmer part of grill. Season salmon with salt and pepper and grill. Grill fennel, lemon halves and asparagus. Remove vegetables and toss together, place on plate then salmon alongside. Pour sauce to one side, toss sorrel and arugula with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Place on top of fish.


Toast cardamom seeds in dry sauté pan then grind with spice grinder. Combine shallot, carrot juice, cardamom, and honey. Reduce by half, remove from heat, and bend crème fraîche and butter, keep warm.

Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar
1000 31st St, Downers Grove
Phone: 630.960.5700


Eddie Sweeney — Catch 35


A southside Chicago native, Eddie Sweeney began his culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu of Chicago in 2000. An opportunity came knocking in 2003 to work for Catch 35 and help open the new location in Naperville. Sweeney expanded his palate and culinary skills as the pastry chef, then sous chef, and eventually executive chef at Catch 35 in Naperville. Sweeney became the corporate chef for Taste America Restaurants and now oversees the Catch 35 Chicago and Naperville locations, Lloyds Chicago, and The North & Clark Café at the Chicago History Museum. Sweeney has not only achieved a rewarding professional career but is also thankful for his supportive wife Beth and their two boys Olliver and Elliot.

What I enjoy about grilling:

It brings my family over, and it always seems to be the area where everyone congregates when there is a party. This is one of my favorite recipes, and a unique way of grilling. Once you try this approach, you will be hooked.

Wild Alaskan king salmon with whole grain mustard char glaze, roasted potatoes and tomatoes, warm pancetta vinaigrette.N2013_07_01_082LARGE

Whole Grain Mustard

4 cups mayo
1 cup of whole grain mustard
4 ounces champagne vinegar
2 ounces lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
Wisk all ingredients together

Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes

2 pounds red potatoes, small wedges
1 pound roma tomatoes, wedges
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large roasting pan. Roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked.

Pancetta Vinaigrette

5 ounce pancetta
2 cups champagne vinegar
2 cups orange juice
3 large shallots
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Kocher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups of olive oil
1 lemon juiced

Cook pancetta on medium heat until crispy, add vinegar and orange juice, reduce by half. Add shallots, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil, finally add the juice of one lemon.

Char Glazed Wild Salmon

6 (8 oz) wild Alaskan king salmon filets
Whole grain mustard aioli
2 cups cracker meal
Salt and pepper to taste
Roasted potatoes and tomatoes
Panetta vinaigrette

N2013_07_01_081LARGEGet the grill hot. Dip salmon filets in cracker meal on one side. Then dip in mustard aioli on the same side. Place filets on the grill, aioli side down, until a char glaze forms. Flip the salmon over and finish to a medium to medium rare. Serve on top of potatoes and tomatoes with the vinaigrette around it.

Catch 35
35 S. Washington St, Naperville

Phone: 630.717.3500


Cein Cid — Sullivan’s Steakhouse

N2013_07_01_083LARGEBorn and raised in Mexico, Cein Pliego Cid attended culinary school in Mexico City before moving to the Chicago area at the age of 19. He began his career at Famous Dave’s BBQ in Naperville. In 1998, Cid became a member of the Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group team, opening the Naperville Sullivan’s Steakhouse. By 2001, Cid worked his way up to sous chef at Sullivan’s. Cid left Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group briefly to work as assistant kitchen manager at Dave and Buster’s in Addison for one year. In 2005, Cid returned to Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Naperville, also opening Sullivan’s Steakhouses in Baltimore, Kansas City, and Branson. He finally landed as executive chef in Naperville. Cid currently lives in Aurora and loves to spend time with his family.

What I enjoy about grilling:

I enjoy grilling because it brings friends and family together and makes people happy. My favorite recipe for the grill is a chili crusted ribeye finished with chili truffle rub.


Chili crusted ribeye

Red Chili RubN2013_07_01_084LARGE

1/8 cup red pepper crushed
1/8 cup garlic salt
2 tablespoons chili power
2 tablespoons cumin
4 ounces sugar, light brown
4 ounces plain bread crumbs
4 ounces parsley, fresh chopped

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix to combine together.

Red Chili Butter

4 ounces unsalted butter
1 ounce red pepper pure
1 tablespoon red chili rub (Recipe)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
1 tablespoon diced red pepper

N2013_07_01_086LARGEPlace butter out at room temperature and let soften. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix to combine. Once butter is well mixed, transfer to a container.

Season ribeye with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill or Broil, turning once to desired temperature, then add chili rub working rub into the steak by pressing down slightly. Once ready, place cooked steak on a plate. Take one ounce of red pepper butter and place on steak. The butter will melt on steak.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse 
244 S. Main St, Naperville

Phone: 630.305.0230


Filemon Ochoa — Meson Sabika

N2013_07_01_087LARGESince Mesón Sabika opened in 1990, Chef Filemon Ochoa has been an integral part of its culinary success. Born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, Ochoa was surrounded by the elements of cooking at a young age and that is when his passion for Spanish food began. He started his culinary training in Mexico and later strengthened his skills by working in reputable Chicagoland restaurants. Striving for a harmonious approach to flavor, texture, and esthetics has been the cornerstone of Ochoa’s creativity. Traveling to Spain on culinary tours allowed him to bring insight to the latest authentic Spanish cuisines. Ochoa has been recognized with many honors and also for his generosity.

What I enjoy about grilling:

I’m a year-round griller, even in the winter. However, there is no denying that grilling in summer is vastly superior. An outdoor grill lets you cook up a tasty, healthy meal while creating a great atmosphere for chatting with friends and family on a warm summer evening.

Solomillo a la Pimiento

Grilled beef tenderloin rolled in fresh cracked pepper served with baby asparagus, cherry tomato and red wine beet sauce.

Serving two to three 

12 ounce beef tenderloin
8 ounces baby asparagus
8 ounces cherry tomato
2 ounces black pepper
2 ounces olive oil
Salt and pepper

N2013_07_01_088LARGEPreheat grill to medium-high. Roll the beef tenderloin in cracked black pepper, sprinkle with salt and drizzle generously with olive oil. Place the marinated beef tenderloin on direct heat for five minutes on each side to brown and then move them to the cooler side of grill and leave for about 20 minutes until they reach 120–125 F.

Marinate the baby asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 10 minutes, put them on the grill until they get soft. Soak the wood skewer in water and then put all of the cherry tomatoes on the skewer. Grill tomatoes.


2 ounces chopped shallots
16 ounces red wine
2 ounces fresh beets
8 ounces veal stock
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

N2013_07_01_089LARGEPut the shallots, butter and fresh beets in a sauce pan and sauté for five minutes. Add the red wine and reduce for 15 minutes. Add the veal stock to the wine reduction and leave on the stove on low heat for 30 minutes. Strain and then reduce again for 15 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meson Sabika
1025 Aurora Ave, Naperville

Phone: 630.983.3000


Massimo Salatino — Francesca’s Restaurants

N2013_07_01_090LARGEA native Italian, Massimo Salatino’s career has spanned two decades, from kitchens in Italy to New York City, and eventually settling in Chicago. As a youngster, Salatino worked at a friend’s restaurant, where his enthusiasm and thirst for culinary knowledge was rewarded as they encouraged him to become a chef.

He obtained a degree in culinary arts from Italy’s prestigious Scuola Alberghiera di Stresa, Lago Maggiore. In 1991, he took the executive chef position at Vivo in Chicago. He opened 160 blue as a sous chef and in 1999 took the position of corporate chef for the Francesca’s Restaurant Group. Salatino has been recognized in publications including Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and La Tavola and is involved in numerous charitable organizations to which he generously gives his time and expertise. He and his wife Holly live in Wheaton with their two children.

N2013_07_01_092LARGEWhat I enjoy about grilling:

I enjoy creating Italian food using various methods, but grilling is a style my wife Holly mostly enjoys. She says I make a big mess in the kitchen, so she kicks me outside to the grill. This way there are less pots and pans for her to wash.

Bistecca alla Vera Fiorentina

Serves two

2 (16 oz) sirloin steaks or ribeye
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce (Optional)

1 cup dry red wine
2 pieces shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup veal stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry porcini mushrooms, finely ground

In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, black pepper and porcini mushrooms. Rub the mixture over the steak and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Preheat the grill or broiler. Take the steak out of the refrigerator and brush off the marinade. Drizzle with olive oil and cook for three to four minutes on each side or until desired temperature. Allow the meat to rest before cutting.

Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat, add shallots and cook until translucent. Add rosemary then the red wine. Lower the heat and cook until the wine reduces by two thirds. Add the veal stock and simmer until reduced by half. Whisk in butter. Season to taste. Serve sauce over meat. Serve with roasted potatoes, grilled veggies or a simple salad.

Francesca’s Restaurants

La Sorella Di Francesca
18 W. Jefferson Ave, Naperville

Phone: 630.961.2706

Francesca’s Passaggio
3124 S. Route 59, Naperville

Phone: 630.946.0600