Executive Chef Steven Gill has been a member of the Hofbräuhaus Chicago team from the beginning. He started the month before we opened in December 2012 as a Sous Chef and was promoted to Executive Chef in 2015. As Executive Chef, Gill, as everyone calls him, supervises every aspect on our menu. From ordering the food and its preparation to oversight of the sous chefs, line cooks, and presentation, he ensures that every aspect of the dining experience is authentic and meets (or exceeds) the Hofbräuhaus standard. On any given night Gill can be observed both in the kitchen and out in the Haus ensuring everything that is food related is presented to his high standard. Whether it’s a couple enjoying their first German dining experience or a banquet where large portions of food are being prepared where everything needs to be timed perfectly, he makes the personal commitment to observe everything related to the culinary experience. Chef Gill came to us with vast experience in the Chicago area. With almost 40 years honing his skills as a chef, he knows how a large-scale operation needs to run efficiently to meet the high expectations of our clientele. His background includes working in the kitchens of such renown locations as House of Blues, Carlucci, Spago, Ritz Carlton, Art Institute of Chicago, and several Hilton hotels around the country. The list goes on, but you have a good idea that he is well versed in his profession. One of the kindest and most unassuming people you will ever meet, when Gill walks through the Haus, if he wasn’t wearing his uniform designating his title, you would not appreciate the significantly important person he is to our establishment. When approached, he greets everyone with warmth and respect, shaking hands with a smile on his face and a genuineness about him that leaves you feeling he really cares about you. Furthermore he often goes out of his way to get to know you, always wishing you an enjoyable dining experience in our Haus. He cares genuinely about the food and will often ask how you enjoyed your meal. Growing up on the west side of Chicago, Gill, the youngest of six children, went to grammar school everyday with his mom who was a cook in the cafeteria. He stayed after school and cleaned classrooms to earn some money. Gill’s life changed at the age of twelve when his mother passed away and he had to “grow up fast”. In high school, Gill was a star athlete. At Austin High School he started on the varsity basketball team, was the starting quarterback on the football team (as well as starting defensive end), ran cross-country, and was a lifeguard at the school’s pool. Because of his success in high school he was very close with former Chicago athletes Reggie Theus (Bulls) and Revie Sorey (Bears). Gill says “hanging out” with these guys helped him to become the person he is today. When asked if he’s a Cubs or Sox fan he politely replies, “I’m a Chicago fan.” Due to his family situation and living in surroundings that were difficult, Gill followed his mother’s spirit. She taught him the nuances of food preparation and as a teenager he went off to work in the kitchens of Chicago and after many years of experience, he came to Hofbräuhaus Chicago. When he started here, several chefs and cooks went to Las Vegas to see how their operation worked while he stayed here and learned “hands-on” how to prepare the food to Hofbräuhaus standards. Gill jokes that when the others came back they understood operations, but he was the one who understood process, and he was leaned on heavily at the beginning. Gill prides himself in being a fast learner and says he went from neophyte to expert very quickly. He says when our Haus is busy everything works like a machine, and he thrives on challenges. When Gill leaves our Haus he goes home to his wife, Nicole, and their two sons, Jordan and Jayden. Gill says, “Taking care of my family is the most important thing in the world to me, and I am grateful that the team at Hofbräuhaus Chicago fully supports that family structure.” He adds, “It is important for me to provide all of the things for my family I could not have as a child; my family time is most important to me.” He has taught his sons the art of food preparation and they are already breakfast cooks in the Gill household! The ideals Chef Gill adheres to include always being your best self, pay attention to detail, and to be genuine no matter where you are or whom you’re with. He believes in structure and every part of his life at work and home is very structured. Everyone at Hofbräuhaus Chicago loves Gill because of the genuine, transparent person that he is. While always trying to maintain a high standard, he always wants to make it better. He is both authentic and genuine. We salute Executive Chef Steven Gill and hope getting to know him better will enable you to appreciate the care and quality that goes into the food served in our Haus.To hear a short interview, click on the link here.
Ed Jacobi has served as Master of Ceremonies at Hofbräuhaus Chicago since it opened and is a contributing writer to the Good Times.