10 Questions with Chef Carlos Ysaguirre

1. where do you find inspiration?

a. seasons inspire me to cook the way I do. a chill in the air means fall and winter are coming, so heartier, stick-to-your-ribs foods dance in my head. once it warms up, lighter fare become part of the menus. other chefs around the city also inspire me as we share the same passion.

2. biggest myth about being a chef?

a. not all chefs cook at home.

3. best food memory?

a. after I married, my grandmother cooked the traditional breakfast the following morning/afternoon. the meal included fresh handmade tortillas, beans cooked in bacon fat, barbacoa (traditional slow cooked beef cheeks) and, of course, over easy eggs. i was surrounded by my friends, family and my late wife. my grandmother knew how to throw down damn good food!

4. what is your guilty food pleasure?

a. chinese food–buffet style!

5. secret to great cooking?

a. salt to season the food, lipid such as olive oil, butter, lard and some type of vinegar or citrus with seasonal, fresh ingredients is the secret to great cooking.

6. last meal?

a. perfectly brined then roasted chicken, roasted chicken jus, whipped potatoes and braised greens with pancetta.

7. what makes Chicago a great food town?

a. accessibility to everything and anything. we have very creative, intelligent and passionate culinary individuals.

8. what are some of your favorite Chicago spots to drink/eat?

a. lula cafe, osteria langhe, lao szechuan, root stock, the california clipper, cafe marie jeanne, the hideout….this list will never end. there are so many great places.

9. if you could not be a chef, what would you be and why:

a. I don’t know, maybe a musician

10. what’s special about tesori trattoria & bar?

a. tesori is a restaurant that grows and matures daily, just as any restaurant. the difference is the people that work here. they care about what tesori is, and we all take pride in our work and we feel we are all responsible in delivering a fantastic experience to our guests.

come try chef ysaguirre’s seasonal inspirations with his new, fall menu.


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