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Sam Kass Loves South Side Vittles

By JoshMogerman in Food on May 29, 2011 8:00PM

Assistant White House chef and Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass [Obama Foodarama]
South Siders have extra-serious Second City syndrome…which is particularly prevalent in food discussions where almost all the attention of Chicago’s culinary scene is lavished on the North Side. So it should be no surprise that an off-the-cuff list of Chicago restaurant faves from White House Chef and foodie hero Sam Kass heavy on eateries south of Madison raised cheers from Bronzeville to Morgan Park.

Kass, in town this week to speak at the National Restaurant Association tradeshow, chatted with WBEZ food blogger Steve Dolinsky and shared a quick list of eateries he has to hit when in town. Pilsen’s Nuevo Leon and Nightwood topped the list, along with Hyde Park’s Valois. The sole North Side representative was Avec, which is just a couple blocks north of Madison. (Check out video and Kass’s shockingly shiny head over at Adventures in Urban Eating.)

North side food luminaries need not worry, all of those restaurants should be top of mind for someone with such a strong South Side pedigree. Kass lived in Pilsen and spent much of his life in Hyde Park where he attended the University of Chicago’s Lab School and stayed at U of C for college. He did venture north to cook at 312, Blackbird and the aforementioned Avec, but was also executive chef at the historic Hull House on the UIC campus.

It’s safe to say we are on board with the foodie Sam Kass man-crush. The great garden and food policy work is giving him a rightful star turn. But we are most thrilled to see the beer flowing out of the White House kitchen.