December chef series welcomes Graham Elliot


Tessa Morhardt / Clarion

Chef Graham Elliot enthusiastically greets the crowd at the December Chef Series event at Madison College’s Truax Campus.

Tessa Morhardt, Editor in chief

With a full house and an eager crowd, the final chef series event of the fall sester begins. The lights dim, music plays, and Chef Graham Elliot enters with host Kyle Cherek.

Elliot talks about his past experiences and what he went through to become a chef. Although many great chefs surrounded Eliot, he has still become a humble human being that does small things like prep work, dishes, etc. Elliot states that “you need to be humble and do what you’re supposed to do.”

Like all chefs, Elliot started at the bottom and worked his way up to the top. Having been around such greatness, Elliot notices that “…you get beat up, and you don’t realize how high of a level you are at until you leave and go to a new kitchen. What’s interesting is that even if your skill level is here, your emotional growth is at a different level.”

Elliot had left Chicago for a year and became a chef in Vermont at a bed and breakfast. Elliot’s experience at the bed and breakfast in Vermont led him to come back to Chicago.

“There was such a high expectation coming back to Chicago where everyone knows you, and you just know you need four stars. The third day I was back, I had the ambulance take me to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack and was dying, but in reality, I was just having a panic attack. I had never experienced this in my life. It’s so hard to live with this when all you want to do is continue this four-star streak.”

Elliot dedicated his life to cooking. He always focuses on his next move and his competition. As Elliot grew older, he became more relaxed and had other things to focus on, like his marriage and his family. Everything started to fall into place for Elliot.

Elliot found his voice by taking his cooks to museums to inspire them and show them how each artist evolves. Elliot recognizes that art is “a constant evolution as to what we are doing.” He goes as far as to explain how nature gives you these objects. He explains everything you can do with them. You can change a single object into a different dish every day.

“No one is better than another.”