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Chef Chris Gatto

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | May 16th, 2012 | Chef Interviews
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We’ve traveled across the country from west to east, learning about spring menus at many fabulous restaurants.  It seemed appropriate to end this article series with a restaurant that has locations in multiple states.  We were able to speak with Chef Chris Gatto, the executive chef for Uno Chicago Grill.  Originally known for their deep dish pizza, this restaurant offers so much more.

When I spoke with Chef Gatto, he was working in the test kitchens for Uno, located in Boston, Massachusetts.  It was interesting to learn about the wide variety of food items available.  We focused our conversation on their new menu, which will be launched on May 20th.

TT:  How many new dishes did you add to your spring menu?

CG:  We added six new items.

TT:  Out of these dishes, which is your favorite spring item?

CG:  They’re all favorites in their own way.  Top sirloin is an interesting dish for us.  We’re introducing chimichurri sauce, which we serve with steak that is grilled and sliced.  Our chimichurri sauce is made with an assortment of ingredients, including flat parsley, oregano, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

TT:  Tell me about another favorite dish.

CG:  We have a new chicken salad in which we replace the fried chicken with grilled for summer, a lighter dish.

TT:  Is this a regional or national menu?

CG:  Every menu we create is a national menu.

TT:  Is it difficult to create a national menu?

CG:  Our purchasing department is great; with them we are able to get all ingredients to locations throughout the country.

TT:  For how long is this menu available?

CG:  It goes through Labor Day.  These items are limited time offerings of about three months or so.  We see if there are items that are huge successes, then they become permanent menu items.

TT:  What makes your spring menu unique?

CG:  We are unique because of the variety that we offer.  Take a look at the menu; it’s large, especially in casual dining.  We have something for everybody.  Our menu is about balance.  We offer indulgent choices; we also offer delicious and nutritious items.  We give you the option to do that.

First and foremost, food has to taste great; then we make it healthier.  We never put anything on our menu that doesn’t taste great.  Also, we were one of the first (in 2006) to have gluten-free items.  Step out there and be the leader.  We were the first to remove artificial trans-fats in 2005.

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