10 Thoughts: Paul Virant

10 Thoughts: Paul Virant

Paul Virant is the chef/owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs, IL, and Perennial Virant in Chicago. Restaurant Hospitality named him a Rising Star in 2005.

1. One thing you don’t know about me is that I have a stuttering problem. I’ve managed to control it most of the time.

2. If I could trade places with one chef it would be Magnus Nilsson, who embraces farm-to-table on the highest level. He has his own farm, he forages, preserves. His Swedish restaurant, Faviken, is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.

3. One of my most memorable meals was at Blackbird with my wife Jennifer. It was our first real date since our first son, Lincoln, was born. We had veal cheeks with giant lima beans and sturgeon with artichoke barigoule.

4. If there were no butter or cheese, I’d have no reason to live.

5. My go-to drink is currently an Old Fashioned, particularly the one my bartender, Mike Page, makes with rye and a giant ice cube.

6. If I were on death row my last meal would be really good Italian food—maybe a rigatoni with sausage and peas, lasagna or gnocchi bolognese, alongside a Caesar salad.

7. My worst culinary creation was a braised carrot tops soup I made for a staff meal at Charlie Trotters during the summer of 1996.

8. If I could change one thing about me it would be my career.

It would be nice to be more of a nine-to-fiver so I could be home in the evening with family.

9. My favorite junk food is the same favorite as my boys, Lincoln and Zane: Kit Kats!

10. If I wasn’t a restaurant operator I’d love to be a farmer or a marine biologist.