Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SAVOR Talking with new Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai; Profile of Travelle's breakfast
by Andrew Davis
2021-06-09

This article shared 3769 times since Wed Jun 9, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai

Travelle at the Langham (330 N Wabash Ave.; www.travellechicago.com ) has undergone a major change during the COVID pandemic: New Chef de Cuisine Qi (pronounced "tee") Ai was promoted from sous chef at the end of March, and has brought her own unique flourishes to putting together the restaurant's menus.

Ai—a relatively new mother who revealed she's also a photographer and an avid hiker—recently chatted with Windy City Times about her background, Travelle's cuisine and her own inner strength.

Windy City Times: You got your degree at Peking University. I'm curious about what brought you specifically to Chicago.

Qi Ai: Well, I've always liked art and food, and I really wanted to pursue something in the food industry. So I came here to study the culinary arts, and here I am, after some years.

WCT: You definitely worked your way up the culinary ladder. At one point, you worked at the legendary Everest restaurant [which is now permanently closed]. What was that experience like?

QA: I was doing an apprenticeship there. It was a very tough kitchen, but you got to work with various ingredients—Michigan blueberries and asparagus. And you got to learn all these very classic French cooking styles. Chef Joho's menus were just beautiful. I learned a lot there.

WCT: You were also at Acadia as well as Sixteen.

QA: Yes—I was at Sixteen for about a year. It was so impressive, and the chef treated the staff so nicely. He let us try all the foods we wanted to try. The food was so beautiful and tasted so amazing.

WCT: How would you describe the cuisine at Travelle?

QA: It's American cuisine, but there are influences everywhere. We have a very American burger—the Travelle Burger—with redeye bacon jam and truffle mayo. But then we have the pork-belly banh mi sandwich that's inspired by my mom. It has all these secret spices and I slowly braise [the meat] for five hours. [Ai put the sandwich on the menu to help stop anti-AAPI hate.] America is such a melting pot, and with Travelle, you get to travel a bit with the food.

WCT: Will the menus change seasonally?

QA: From a budget standpoint, it's not viable to change all the dishes at once, for sure. I'll see what our team is comfortable with, and try to change a few dishes at a time.

WCT: This past year and a half has been trying for all of us, on various levels. What have you learned about yourself during this time?

QA: Personally, I had a baby about a year ago—and, with the pandemic, it's been hard. I learned that a person can do so many things if you push yourself. With the baby being born and the restaurant being closed, it was difficult not knowing about the future—but you have to keep pushing on, doing the daily things and seeing what happens next. The pandemic taught me to be resilient and to never give up hope.

You aim to get better every day—which is also the motto of this hotel: "Better every day."

REVIEW: Travelle at the Langham

There's always a question of how the food will be once a new chef de cuisine takes over an established spot.

Jeff Vucko enthralled guests for several years with dishes such as his salt-encrusted tomahawk steak (which, sadly, I never got to try). He has now taken his talents to the luxury hotel The Pendry Chicago.

But I have news for those who dine at Travelle (330 N Wabash Ave.; www.travellechicago.com ) now: The quality of the cuisine has, thankfully, not waned one bit—and has been thrown a delightful curve.

New Chef de Cuisine Qi (pronounced "tee") Ai, promoted from sous chef, has put together some intriguing menus filled with delicious offerings.

Items under the "Chef's Favorites" portion of the breakfast menu include everything from the healthful (the Power Egg White Scramble) to the indulgent (Skillet Cinnamon Bun). However, I decided to try something from the "Breakfast Notions" part: the Travelle Benedict—a sinful dish consisting of generous portions of lobster, spinach and truffle hollandaise, topped by two perfectly poached eggs.

Other items range from buttermilk pancakes to mango-chia seed pudding (very pleasant and light) to avocado toast.

The brunch and lunch menus are more adventurous. English and Travelle Benedicts are still there, but global influences are seen in dishes such as butter chicken and the pork-belly banh mi sandwich. However, one can't go wrong with homegrown standards such as the Travelle Burger (SO delicious) and the lobster roll; or with an innovative offering such as cream of Jerusalem artichoke (which, by the way, is neither from Jerusalem nor is an artichoke), with smoked pear, celery and bacon.

The dinner menu—offered only at Travelle's bar on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 2-10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday at 2-11 p.m.—offers similar items. But there are also Steak & Truffle, salmon poke, crispy calamari and various desserts (like strawberry cheesecake and chocolate cake). These all sound very tempting.

So kudos to Ai for bringing her own touch to Travelle and maintaining the spot's lofty standards. You'll find yourself returning to this restaurant again and again.

—NOTE: Regarding COVID-related protocols, Travelle at the Langham requires face masks until you're seated at a table. Social distancing is also observed.

Also, of note: Travelle is open Wednesdays through Sundays only.


This article shared 3769 times since Wed Jun 9, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SAVOR Prairie Grass' honor, Aviary reservations, 4/20 events 2024-04-14
- —Congrats!: Northbrook restaurant Prairie Grass Cafe was honored for its Sensory Friendly Hour program at the 18th Annual Disability Matters North America Awards held in Milwaukee on April 4. Victoria's Secret & Co., Walt Disney Imagineering, ...


Gay News

Big Gay Sal's, pizzeria named after owner's larger-than-life presence, opens in Northalsted 2024-04-10
- Salvador Mora has always been known for his cheerful smile, warm hugs and big heart, but now it's his pizza that has people talking. Mora co-owns Big Gay Sal's, a late-night pizzeria that opened in March ...


Gay News

Andersonville Chamber announces Andersonville Midsommarfest entertainment lineup 2024-04-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO (April 8, 2024) — The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to announce the full entertainment line-up for Andersonville Midsommarfest, one of Chicago's oldest and most beloved summer ...


Gay News

SAVOR James Beard nominees, Krispy Kreme, controversies 2024-04-06
- SAVOR James Beard nominees, Krispy Kreme, controversies BY ANDREW DAVIS —Congrats!: In D.C., The James Beard Foundation announced the 2024 Restaurant and Chef Award nominees as well as the honorees of the Leadership Awards, Humanitarian of ...


Gay News

SAVOR The casual Italian spot Archive Lounge 2024-04-05
- Last year, a friend and I visited Chef Steve Chiappetti's Streeterville restaurant The Albert, in Hotel EMC2 (228 E. Ontario St.)—and having dinner at the Italian spot was one of my top culinary experiences of 2023. ...


Gay News

SAVOR The Inspired Home Show, Uncle Julio's closes, Malort cocktails 2024-03-30
- Getting inspired: On March 17-19, The Inspired Home Show—a massive display of current and upcoming products focused on cooking, cleaning, containing and much more—occurred at McCormick Place. Battery-run lawn mowers ...


Gay News

SAVOR Easter roundup for 2024 2024-03-24
- Easter is a time to celebrate rebirth, spring, life—and brunches. Chicagoland restaurants will be out in full force on Sunday, March 31, offering Easter meals—some with their own twists (including ...


Gay News

SAVOR WhiskyX, an Easter soiree, a pizza-making class and more 2024-03-24
- I'll drink to that: On March 21, I was invited to check out dozens of whiskeys, rums, tequilas and other spirits at WhiskyX, which took place at the Chicago venue Morgan MFG and which hundreds of ...


Gay News

SAVOR REVIEW Sushi By Bou 2024-03-19
- Going into a sushi restaurant, I didn't expect to hear a 1920s version of the Carly Rae Jepsen hit "Call Me Maybe" emanating from the speakers. However, that and other Great Gatsby-like flourishes can be found ...


Gay News

SAVOR Gemini Grill opens, 'Rick Bayless Day' and more 2024-03-17
- —And I quote: I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal."—Groucho Marx —Pop life: Don't forget my other Substack: "Pop-Eds: My takes on pop culture." Thank you so ...


Gay News

SAVOR REVIEW La Grande Boucherie 2024-03-14
- Just a few months ago, The Group NYC—a hospitality consortium based in you-know-where—opened the Italian restaurant Olio e Piu in Chicago's River North neighborhood. You can read my review of ...


Gay News

SAVOR James Beard contest, a new Publican opens and a PAWS event 2024-02-25
- Contest: You have a chance to be in on all the action during the chef-studded James Beard Award weekend of June 8 in Chicago. Among other things, the grand prize winner will get a three-stay in ...


Gay News

SAVOR Green City Market; Sofitel's 'Un-Tea' time 2024-02-24
- For those who wonder about the lack of a farmers' market in Chicago during the winter months, I point you toward Green City Market (GCM) Avondale, taking place on Saturdays at 8 a.m.-1 p.m. through March ...


Gay News

SAVOR A new Sushi By Bou, a seafood boil class and James Beard scholarships 2024-02-18
- Pop life: Don't forget my other Substack: "Pop-Eds: My takes on pop culture." Thank you so much to the people who've already subscribed. The latest entry (Feb. 17) features Beyonce, Zendaya and my Oscar predictions. Subscribe ...


Gay News

SAVOR At Willies 'n Waffles, sexuality is on the menu 2024-02-12
- Having written about Chicago's culinary scene for at least 15 years, this writer has covered all sorts of spots—from Michelin-starred upscale establishments to those so-called "holes in the wall" that can serve some of the best ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.