Chow Town

James Beard award winning chef leaves KC for new job in Chicago

Debbie Gold
Debbie Gold

Award-winning chef Debbie Gold is heading to Chicago to run the dining concepts tied to one of the Windy City’s popular indie and jazz music venues.

The news that the James Beard award-winning chef and “Top Chef: Masters” alum is running the combined kitchens of Tied House opening in January 2018 and Schubas Tavern broke in Eater Chicago.

While in Kansas City, Gold has built a resume highlighting a wide array of experience — from fine dining at The American Restaurant, running the kitchen twice, to more casual venues, including 40 Sardines, Red Door Grill and Standees.

Gold had recently signed on to help The American make the transition from high-profile restaurant to private event space. “I’ve been doing fine dining for so long,” she says. “I still love doing that, yet now maybe I get to make a really cool fried chicken sandwich.”

Gold says the Chicago job — which she starts today — is still so new that “we’re still working on the menu. I’ll be starting from scratch.”

But she’s eager to design a modern take on Midwestern comfort food because of the creative freedom she has been given. A side benefit of working in a music venue is the added creativity of making food for other artists.

“There are lots of moving parts, which is one of the reasons it will be challenging,” Gold says by phone from Chicago. “They’re still expecting the same quality and creativity (as fine dining), but we want it to be a more casual atmosphere.”

Gold has a mother and a brother living in Chicago, the city where she began her culinary career. She worked for the late great chef Charlie Trotter and headed to The American in the ’90s. By 1999, she had been named Best Chef of the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation.

Gold will be coming back to Kansas City often: She has a daughter who is a senior in high school and another daughter attending Kansas State University.

But Chicago’s gain means the loss one of one of Kansas City’s highest profile female chefs.

To reach The Star’s James Beard award-winning food eidtor Jill Silva: 816-234-4395, @kcstarfood