Our humble beginnings involve a small basement kitchen near Times Square where Rebecca (our owner) began teaching the fine people of Manhattan to stop using their ovens to store sweaters and instead, use them to make delicious food. With the dream of being in the kitchen surrounded by friendly faces every night, she started The Social Table in order to bring people together through food and drink. After five successful years she (and The Social Table) decided to move out of The Big Apple and onto The Windy City.
Our goal is to recreate Rebecca’s best memories of growing up – a group of people all sharing in a meal – making it, eating it, talking about it and hazily remembering the good things about it the next morning. At The Social Table we get everyone together in the kitchen to laugh, nosh, drink, chip in, chop, sauté, cook, drink, sneak a bite, plate, shove their faces, drink a little more and find a way to make room for dessert. This is our perfect night, wouldn’t you agree?
The Big Cheese. Generally fond of making noises to express thoughts and emotional states. Cannot live without a pork product or red meat at any given meal. Knows a thing or two about art history, dancing, wine, cooking, & world-travel. Loves bad pop music, owns vinyl records, & tortures the rest of the staff with her country music playlists. It’s only fair, she owns this joint.
Doer of things, organizer of chaos, general reason things get done around here. Has mild hipster tendencies, has a love affair with cheese-fries, insists on making her own masa tortillas, and is learning to play the Irish fiddle & drum. This one can be found riding around with her husband and baby on the family’s tandem bicycle, losing sleep over unfinished crossword puzzles, & wearing the ever-awesome combo: Baby Bjorn + teal Crocs.
Longtime professional chef & culinary teacher, menu guru, and knife-skills ninja! Mike believes that with a sharp Japanese knife and a Vita Prep blender you can near conquer the world! (But he would never do that….) He moonlights at the ice hockey rink and collects rare whiskey. He’s a Star Wars nerd, bass & drums player, great hugger, and lover of classic rock. Could subsist on sushi, ramen, foie gras, and coffee alone. May actually have coffee running through his veins instead of blood – we’re still not sure.
If you have called or written to The Social Table, you’ve probably already met Hannah. This lady keeps our office chugging all day, every day. She hails from Doylestown, PA but spent her college years in NYC honing her writing skills and becoming cooler than the rest of us. She’s the youngest on the team but is wise beyond her years and if you’ve found a nicer human, please let us know. (Seriously, we’d like to know!) She’s a manchego cheese fanatic and a lover of of Italian & Thai food. If she’s not here at the kitchen, she’s most likely snuggling up with her kittens, Joni & Helen, binge-watching The Sopranos, or reading through Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat for a tenth time. Hannah also moonlights–or rather very early sunlights–as an AM pastry chef at Lula Cafe. Master of all trades, much?
Joining the TST team in 2018, Louis brings a whole lotta culinary knowledge and experience to the table. Trained in the French tradition, he uses a secret ingredient (BUTTER) to bring smiles to the faces of the ones he loves. He’s an awesome teacher; an amazing dad; a car enthusiast; a World War II nerd, and a GIF texting extraordinaire. Like many culinary minds, Kitchen Confidential and Devil in the Kitchen rank high on his go-to reads. If he’s not in the kitchen, he’s either at the gym, on the golf-course, taking a stroll with the fam, or chowing down on a big bowl of Vietnamese Pho. (And we totally didn’t hire him just because he looks like Ben Affleck. We swear.)
Salt of the Earth. Culinary creative. Pizza BOSS! Rachel joined our team way back when we were just laying down our roots in Chicago and she’s been with us ever since. Rachel is part of the teaching staff for part of the year, but she spends the warm weather months running her business Our House Pizza –a mobile wood fired catering company specializing in ‘Neapolitan’ style pizzas. And when we say “specializing,” we mean “perfecting.” If you haven’t tasted Our House’s offerings, I suggest you drop everything you’re doing right now and go find where that oven is parked. (Seriously. GO!) Rachel went straight to culinary school out of high school and has worn many hats in this biz for 20 years. Her culinary hero is Julia Child (whom she actually met!) and her fave cookbook is Heritage by Sean Brock, champion of heritage ingredients and simple preservation technique. Rach loves microplanes so much she should probably marry them, but she’s already married (to a human) and she’s a mama to a cuter-than-cute bluetick coonhound named Ryder. If she’s not at the farmer’s market, prepping ingredients at The Social Table kitchen, kayaking and biking with her husband, or chatting up her customers while she slings hot dough, Rachel is probably…sleeping? Or so we hope!!
The only chef (that we know) who teaches cooking classes with epic movie theme music playing in the background. (“Um, is this the Forrest Gump medley, Dom?”) Loves food, loves teaching. He’s a big fan of Italian & Latin cuisine but he’s always on the hunt for new culinary challenges including cheese-making! His top 3 favorite foods are pizza, pizza, and pizza. When he’s not in the kitchen, Dom can be found playing piano, drawing, listening to jazz, and hanging out with his one-eyed axolotl, Patchy.
As a kid, she narrated her own “cooking shows” at home in Franklin, MI. Several detours later, Chef Sarah found herself at culinary school in Ireland learning how to fillet fish, cut lamb forequarters, and make cheese. Thankfully, a bit further down the path, she landed at our kitchen door. As a chef, she is inspired by la cucina povera (Italian peasant cuisine) and marries her passion for old school technique, kitchen resourcefulness, and classic Italian ingredients to teach and create beautiful meals. Her dream food destination is Taormina, Sicilia. She’s a pasta expert, avid biker, and champion of the humble, scrap-saving spatula. If Sarah’s not at the kitchen, you’ll probably find her enjoying a great meal at home, doing freelance advertising work, or writing about food. You may also recognize her as one of the members of the Matafame trio–the Italy-inspired pop-up dinner sensation taking over the northside of Chicago.
Stephanie–better known to her junior chef pupils as Chefanie–is both a regular TST instructor and the fearless leader of our kids’ events! A once very picky eater, Chefanie spends her time outside of our kitchen…in other peoples’ kitchens! She is a personal chef, she teaches in-home family cooking classes, and she spends ample time sampling the tasty treats of her friends. (Did anyone ever tell you that chefs make great friends?) Stephanie draws inspiration from the foods of her childhood – like pierogis and Swedish meatballs – when planning more health-conscious-meets-comforting meals for her clients and herself. You’ll be sure to find pomegranate molasses, kimchi, and eggs at Chez Stephanie, as well as two cats named Teddy and Cosmo. She loves her 90s hip-hop, is quick to the draw (with bench scrapers, that is!!), she has a VERY cool apron decorated with tiny Pikachus. If you asked her what her last meal on Earth would be, she might just tell you a liverwurst sandwich with Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. (You do you?)
A Midwesterner with a penchant for fresh veggies and fine wine, Emily brings to the table experience in farm-to-table Italian cooking and organic meal delivery production. She swears by the power of a splash of lemon to make any dish pop, and recently has been known to dabble with her favorite new appliance – the tortilla press! Be sure to pick Emily’s brain for tips on vegetarian and vegan cooking, or to chat her up about her travels to 30 (!) countries over the years.
Renaissance lady, bringer of cheer, & whipper-up of some seriously delicious baked treats. Maddie loves great food and she loves bringing people together to enjoy it. A big fan of Indian, Italian & Middle Eastern cuisines and wannabe protégé of Ina Garten & Yotam Ottolenghi. When she’s not in the kitchen, she can be found traveling around the country, singing by the piano, doing yoga, & tap-dancing around town! She is also a member of the Matafame pop-up trio bringing Italian-inspired joy to Chicagoans. Perhaps most importantly, she shares a birthday with Queen Bey.
A man about town, Ian has a penchant for tattoos that make owner, Rebecca roll her eyes. His enthusiasm for all things slightly out of the main stream is his endearing trademark. He’ll happily whip you up the best bowl of fresh pasta around and talk to you about his love of hip-hop, pickling, his adorable St. Bernard Penelope, or what he is currently growing in his garden. An insatiable appetite for knowledge has driven Chef Ian to find inspiration in many places, but let’s be honest, it’s Chef Remy the Rat from Ratatouille that pulls at his culinary heart strings the most. If he’s not in the kitchen he’s sipping on a cold beer with friends at a dive bar and savoring the distinct flavor of Malort.