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 2021-06-09
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 667 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 667 times since Wed Jun 9, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Filicia reunites with the 'Fab Five' 2021-06-17
- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted on television in 2003 on Bravo. It starred the "Fab Five," each with a different specialty. Ted Allen was the expert on food, Kyan Douglas was in charge of ...


Gay News

Chicago Gourmet returning in September 2021-06-17
- The organizers of Chicago Gourmet announced details surrounding the September 2021 celebration. With a focus on reuniting gourmet enthusiasts with Chicago's culinary community, founding sponsors at the Illinois Restaurant Association ...


Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE announce more summer cultural events across Chicago 2021-06-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced even more returning, new and reimagined summer cultural events across Chicago — plus artist lineups and other details ...


Gay News

'Let's Talk Womxn Supper Club & Conversation' on June 25 2021-06-09
- The group of 40 Chicago independent, women-led restaurants—better known as Let's Talk Womxn Chicago—has launched the monthly "Let's Talk Womxn Supper Club & Conversation." The next event will take place Friday, June 25, 6:30-9 p.m., with ...


Gay News

Chipotle partners with Chicago's Kim Chi and other queens for Pride Month 2021-06-03
- Chipotle Mexican Grill announced it will celebrate drag culture and support affiliated LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout June's Pride Month. The brand will offer two events: Chipotle Queen of Pride and a special Chipotle Drag Lunch. The celebration ...


Gay News

SAVOR Brunch at Adorn Bar & Restaurant 2021-05-22
- I first became acquainted with Chef Jonathon Sawyer's cuisine at Cleveland's famed Greenhouse Tavern in 2013—and I still occasionally dream about the corn-and-creste pasta dish I had there. Therefore, I had high hopes about Sawyer's move ...


Gay News

SAVOR Punch Bowl Social 2021-05-20
- Summer is approaching and COVID restrictions are being relaxed—and restaurants are among the many types of businesses benefiting from these changes. A recent visit to Chicago's Punch Bowl Social (310 ...


Gay News

SAVOR Takito Street 2021-05-09
- Takito Street (2423 N. Lincoln Ave.; http://takitostreet.com/) is the third in the Takito line of restaurants (along with Takito Kitchen and Bar Takito)—a string of restaurants offering playful vibes, fresh ...


Gay News

Dining Out for Life taking place May 16-22 2021-05-06
- The annual event Dining Out for Life will take place May 16-22 throughout Chicago and Evanston. Participants dine in, order takeout/delivery or purchase gift cards from their favorite restaurants and donate directly to TPAN to support ...


Gay News

Windy City Smokeout to return July 8-11 2021-04-29
- The outdoor country-music/BBQ festival Windy City Smokeout will return to Chicago on July 8-11 outside the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St. Hosted by BBQ joint Bub City and the venue Joe's Bar, the event will ...


Gay News

Chicago restaurants receive Michelin stars 2021-04-29
- Local restaurants, old and new, received Michelin stars April 29, according to a Chicago Tribune article. The Michelin Guide's annual ratings play a significant role in anointing restaurant industry royalty ...


Gay News

SAVOR Cluck It/Cowch Burger/Oona 2021-04-24
- A sign that things are slowly returning to some semblance of normal activity is when businesses expand. Such is the case with Cluck It/Cowch Burger (https://www.cluckitchicago.com/), which co-owners/spouses Cainan Edwards ...


Gay News

SAVOR Sam's Crispy Chicken and Umami Burger 2021-04-08
- Sam's Crispy Chicken (SamsCrispyChicken.com) and Umami Burger (UmamiBurger.com), both from C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) and both at 945 W. Randolph St., have launched new food and beverage menus—although indulgence i ...


Gay News

Webinar to spotlight secret gay life of culinary giant James Beard May 5 2021-03-12
--From a press release - James Beard, who changed how Americans eat, is spotlighted on May 5 with an entertaining live webinar by Food Network star Ted Allen, and author John Birdsall. In the Kitchen Closet takes place May 5 at ...


Gay News

SAVOR Wood: Boystown/Northalsted spot returns 2021-03-09
SAVOR - Some people may snicker when they hear that there's a restaurant named Wood (3335 N. Halsted St.; WoodChicago.com) in the city's Boystown/Northalsted neighborhood—and there is even a currently discontinued Sunday ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

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 Transegender 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      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.