Friday, March 12, 2010

Some Tricks Beyond Their Trades . . .

Double A's general manager Victor DeLeon (Photo: Victor DeLeon)

Chefs Rick Gresh (David Burke's Primehouse) and Graham Elliot Bowles (graham elliot) have been known to play a mean guitar. The Drawing Room's award-winning master mixologist Charles Joly used to gig in a drunk punk band.

You'd be surprised how much talent runs deep in Chicago's kitchens and bars that goes beyond chosen professions.

Down in Double A, the dapper Victor DeLeon holds down the fort of the city's sexiest tequila lounge. The native New Yorker runs this spot on the level of any well-heeled Manhattan watering hole, but it's his personal style and presence that really got our attention.

Chances are, if DeLeon's decked out in suit, tie and shirt, he's wearing custom-made threads from his line, Niformis (soon to be changed to Victor DeLeon). For eight years, he's dressed New York's movers and shakers, and he would love to do the same for Chicago.

Though Double A doesn't enforce a strict dress code, he'd like to see male patrons step up their wardrobe game.

"Women's fashion in Chicago is on par with New York and Europe, but the men are a few years away," he says. "It looks a little off when women come into Double A well dressed and the guys with them are wearing sneakers or (ill-fitting) jeans."

Niformis' ties start at $125; shirts $350 and suits $2,400.

Christian Gosselin, executive sous chef at Cafe des Architectes (Photo: Sofitel Chicago)

Over at the Sofitel's Cafe des Architectes, Executive Chef Martial Noguier runs a tight ship. One of the reasons for his success is that he can count on the Quebec-born Christian Gosselin to have his back at all times.

As bad ass as this executive sous chef is in the kitchen, we're putting money on the fact that he could also be counted on if Noguier ever found himself in a tough situation.

That's because when Gosselin isn't working 70 hours a week at the restaurant, he trains six days a week, two hours a day in mixed martial arts. His specialties are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Thai boxing, which means his diet is certainly not typical of most chefs.

"Seventy percent of the training is what you eat," he says. "There's a lot of stuff I need to avoid like sugar, carbs and booze. For me, it's mostly proteins, water, fish oil and supplements."

Gosselin last competed two years ago when he was still working at Sofitel Montreal, so he's long overdue to get back in the ring. He's aiming for a comeback in about six months, so hopefully we'll get ring-side seats for the big match!

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