Carrie Nahabedian is the chef/co-owner of Naha, a Chicago-based Mediterranean restaurant that recently turned 15 years old, and Brindille, which offers “refined” Parisian cuisine. Naha has been awarded a Michelin Star for five consecutive years and the James Beard Foundation named Nahabedian Best Chef Great Lakes in 2008. Most recently she was presented with the Jean Banchet Culinary Achievement Award. Before opening Naha, Nahabedian served as executive chef of the Four Season Hotels in Chicago, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
1. Fennel. I love fennel roasted, shaved raw and braised with olive oil and aromatics. It’s my personal favorite. I am a huge licorice, anise seed, fennel seed and star anise fan. Just a faint touch and it really makes a difference.
2. Alain Ducasse Grand Livre de French Cuisine. It’s my favorite cookbook and he’s my favorite chef. His cooking is so flawless. I received the book autographed by Ducasse from my late friend Charlie Trotter.
3. Pastry Chef Craig Harzewski. He’s a longtime colleague who always has my back. We work closely on ensuring that the flow of the meal is exactly what our guests expect.
4. Scarves. My signature fashion statement is my wide array of scarves that I use for headbands. I wore a chef hat everyday until Naha, but I couldn’t stand the headache I got from them by the end of the day. I use scarves to keep my wild hair in control.
5. Mediterranean roasted chicken and loup de mer. They are my favorite recipes. Not together, but you can cook them in a similar style using candied lemon, artichokes, glazed onions and sweet garlic-roasted small potatoes. Heaven!