Chef shows the creative process in Italian cuisine


Leah Heidemann/Clarion

Chef Sarah Gruneberg makes a dish during the April 10 Chef Series presentation at Madison College

Leah Heidemann, Staff Writer

Sarah Grueneberg visited Madison College to show students her creative process behind her Italian cuisine.

Interviewed by Lindsay Christians, who writes for “The Capital Times,” Christians shares her own love of food and dining with Sarah Grueneberg and Madison College throughout the interview.

Continuing the Chef Series on April 10, Grueneberg was a sous chef by the impressive young age of 22 and she knew she had to branch out in order to fully discover her potential and share her food with the world. Originally from Texas, she ended up bringing her love of cooking right to the heart of Chicago.

It was there where she opened up her own restaurant “Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio” and received a Michelin star. In 2017, she was named one of the Best Chefs in the Great Lakes at the James Beard Foundation, and appeared on Bravo TV’s Top Chef series 9 and she came in second place.

Grueneberg’s inspiration and creativity with her cooking comes from three places: the ingredients, a place or particular culture, and memories. She explains how she can walk through a kitchen looking for certain ingredients to use, and some will call out to her more than others. When this happens, her recipes are often very successful.

She also likes to tie in places or memories in her cooking. Grueneberg tries to create a recipe that brings back a certain feeling, memory, or a particular place. She views food more than just something to eat, but it should create an experience or remind you of a memory.

Grueneberg’s advice to young chefs hoping to make it in the restaurant business is to work with people you love who have strengths where you have weaknesses, and to be authentic and real.

She has a strong belief that costumers can tell if the food they are eating is something made with passion and love behind it or if a restaurant is in business only for the money. She doesn’t believe restaurants can survive without putting in the extra effort and love behind each and every recipe on the menu.

Italian cuisine has a special place in Grueneberg’s heart and she loves the simplicity of the flavors. She feels that American food tends to have too much going on and the more you simplify, the better the recipe becomes.

She demonstrated her passion for Italian food by creating exquisite Italian inspired spaghetti with homemade pasta, and fresh tomato sauce topped with breadcrumbs and basil. The flavors of the dish and how well they work with each other prove how much thought Grueneberg puts into all the dishes she creates.