Table XI hires ultra-gourmet chef

You might be surprised to learn that the "XI" in Table XI refers to the number of pounds each employee gains within a few months of working here.   We certainly were.

Since we buy lunch for our employees, we made a corporate New Year's resolution to "eat healthier" and hired a chef.  This may sound indulgent, but it costs about the same as ordering from restaurants.  Our resident gourmands (read "everybody") weren't going to be satisfied by just any chef, so we snagged a cook from Alinea, the restaurant Gourmet Magazine named "The Best Restaurant in America".

We are incredibly happy to welcome Rene Deleon to the Table XI team.

Rene studied at the New England Culinary Institute and has worked at some of the best restaurants in Vermont, Las Vegas, Texas, Cincinnati and Boston.  Three years ago he heard that Grant Achatz (protégé of the French Laundry's Thomas Keller) would be opening a new restaurant in Chicago, so he packed up two suitcases and moved here, "biding" his time at Moto (with Iron Chef winner Homaro Cantu) until he got his shot to work at Alinea.

In between the seventy-hour Alinea work weeks, he finds time to come over to our office and cook us four meals for the week.  Some of the menus we have enjoyed the most so far include:

  • Salmon over puréed leaks with seared brussell sprouts and caramelized onions (Rich's iPhone shot featured to the right)
  • "Pi-Squared Day" - chicken pot pie served with apple pie both made from scratch
  • Fresh parpadelle pasta with a braised beef ragu

We're not sure if we're trimming our waistlines, but if you'd like to find out, stop by our office around the lunch hour; we'd be happy to share.

Special thanks to the folks at the Spice House for decking out our kitchen with a wonderful selection of herbs and spices.

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