Copyright © 2015 Poland on a Plate  

Guest Chefs

Michael Lachowicz Chef/Owner Restaurant Michael

Chef Michael Lachowicz has built a strong culinary resume, starting at the Culinary Institute of America, and in restaurant tours under the renowned Maxime Riberra in New York; and then under the famed Jean Banchet and later Roland Liccioniat at Le Francais in Wheeling, IL. After further refining his skills in Lyon, France, he returned to Chicago and became Chef de Cuisine at Allouette in Highwood. Later, he and his brother opened the highly awarded, Les Deux Gros, in Glen Ellyn. In 2005, Michael opened his namesake restaurant “Michael” in Winnetka which will be celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary this fall. He was named Chef of the Year for 2007-2008 by the International Wine and Food Society of Chicago and, those same years, Michael's was awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. He has continually been recognized by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Magazine, Bon Appetite, Gourmet,  and Food & Wine Magazine.


Bogna Solak Chef/Owner Oak Mill Bakery

Chef Bogna Solak came to the U.S. in 1981 and opened her first specialty bakery in 1986. With a strong culinary background and a passion for food, she soon turned Oak Mill Bakery from a modest bakery of one into six successful store locations throughout Chicagoland. With quality and freshness at the forefront, Oak Mill Bakery imports many of its ingredients from Europe.


Tomasz Rybinski Chef/Owner Professionals Prepare Inc.

Chef Tomasz Rybinski is a talented chef educated at Chicago’s prestigious culinary school, Kendall College. Owner of Professionals Prepare Inc., he has over a decade of experience from working in large kitchens with a staff of 50 to catering intimate private events. His creative and artistic culinary style lends to new twists on traditional Polish recipes – making them healthier and exciting for both novice and experienced cooks. Tom has also worked as a corporate chef and consultant for Kraft Foods and has numerous appearances on both GM and Polish television cooking shows.


Mark Grosz Chef/Owner Oceanique
Chef Mark Grosz offers discriminating diners exquisite dishes prepared in the French tradition with a modern American twist at Oceanique, his award-winning seafood restaurant in Evanston, Illinois. Grosz uses only the finest organic produce and seafood from sustainable, eco-friendly sources. Since 1993, Oceanique has been ranked as the number one seafood restaurant in the Chicago metropolitan area by the prestigious Zagat Guide. With an extensive list featuring over 900 carefully selected fine wines, Oceanique has won Wine Spectator Magazine's coveted "Best of Award of Excellence" every year since 1994 being recognized as having one of the 750 best wine lists in the world.


Artur Moroz Chef/Owner restaurant Bulaj, Poland
Bulaj is an acclaimed restaurant in Sopot, on Poland’s Baltic coast. Chef Artur Moroz’s award-winning cuisine reflects the old world culinary history of Poland and its diverse regions, of which many traditions have been lost. A leader of the slow food movement in Poland, Moroz actively promotes the use of local products, especially fish and goose. His creative recipes were used to promote Poland’s culinary culture during the Polish Presidency of the European Union. Recently, Moroz presented an exclusive menu for the President of Poland and other dignitaries for the annual Polish Independence Day celebration at the Belweder Palace in Warsaw.


Episode Recipes


Kevin Hickey Executive Chef / Partner Bottlefork

Chef Kevin Hickey recently joined forces with Rockit Ranch Productions to open Bottlefork in Chicago – a new American concept offering locally sourced and globally inspired cuisine & cocktails with Hickey’s penchant for big, bold flavors showcased in modern interpretations with his farm-to-table philosophy. Prior to Bottlefork, Hickey enjoyed 18 years at the Four Seasons hotels & resorts beginning in 1995 at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. In early 2000, he moved to Europe and served on the pre-opening teams for the Four Seasons Dublin and Four Seasons Canary Wharf, London. In 2001, Hickey joined Four Seasons Atlanta as Executive Chef where he earned Zagat's title of "Best Brunch in the World.” In 2004 he moved back to his hometown of Chicago to serve as Executive Chef at the Ritz Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel. And in 2010, as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel, Hickey led his team to a Michelin Star and AAA Five Diamond status.


Artur Wnorowski Chef / Owner Lokal

Lokal restaurant features contemporary Polish-American cuisine made from local, sustainable and naturally-cultivated sources. Chef Artur Wnorowski defined his unique culinary style by fusing traditional Polish dishes with global influences and modern techniques. His approach to redefining Polish cuisine has caught the attention of both local and international media. The Chicago Reader describes Lokal as “a revolutionary reintroduction of Polish food,” and WGN TV hailed Lokal’s potato pancakes as “the best in Chicago.” Wnorowski is currently working on a new restaurant concept launching in Spring 2016. In addition to his culinary success, he is an accomplished music producer and independent record label owner.


Rick Gresh Executive Chef David Burke’s Primehouse At The James Hotel

Gresh is a graduate from the renowned Culinary Institute of America during which time he had an externship at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Gresh soon scored a spot on the line at Trio in Evanston. His impressive resume includes the Celebrity Café at Hotel Nikko, Tsunami, Green Dolphin, Caliterra Restaurant at the Wyndham Hotel and the Saddle & Cycle Club – all in Chicago. In 2007, he became the Executive Chef of David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago featuring a rotating menu focusing on seasonal, local and organic ingredients and inventive dishes that reflect evolving culinary trends. Over the years, Gresh has earned numerous accolades including: “Rising Star of American Cuisine” by the James Beard Foundation; two-time finalist at Bocuse D’Or; “Chef Humanitarian of the Year” by Plate magazine; Five “Men to Watch” by Chicago Magazine and more.


Gale Gand Chef / Partner Tru & Chef / Partner Spritz Burger

Chef Gand is a nationally acclaimed pastry chef, restaurateur, cookbook author,
TV personality, teacher, entrepreneur, and mother of three. Chef Gand has been recognized as Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year by The James Beard Foundation and Bon Appetit magazine. She is pastry chef/partner of the newly opened Spritz Burger in Chicago and partner in the Michelin one star, Tru. She is host of Food Network “Sweet Dreams,” and author of 8 cookbooks. She also produces Gale’s Root Beer. Gale has made appearances on “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Oprah,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” “Baking With Julia” (Child), ”Good Morning America,” “The Rachael Ray Show” and “The Today Show.” She competed on “Iron Chef America” and has been featured as a celebrity judge on “Food Network Challenge,” “Last Cake Standing,” "Top Chef" and “Top Chef Just Desserts.”

Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp
Chefs / Founders Sunday Dinner Club and Honey Butter Fried Chicken

Chefs Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp became “friendly rivals” during their training at Chicago’s Kendall College.  Their rivalry became a successful business partnership beginning with their Eat Green Foods granola bar line, their highly regarded Sunday Supper Club, their sought after burgers at the Green City Market and ultimately culminating into their successful brick and mortar restaurant, Honey Fried Chicken in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood in 2013.  The pair emphasizes local, sustainable ingredients and providing not simply a meal, but an experience for their customers and staff.  Josh and Christine's business philosophy envelopes food, service and finance, in that order in an attempt to strike the balance between a successful restaurant and quality of life for themselves and their staff.


Don Zajac
Chef Cress Creek Country Club, Naperville
VP /ACF Windy City Professional Culinarians

Soon after receiving a degree in the Culinary Arts, Don Zajac pursued classical cooking techniques with chefs Michael Foley and Jean-Pierre Henry in Chicago. Over the years, Don has been an accomplished chef in restaurants, a hotel, casino and private clubs. His culinary craft has been featured in books including Food and Wine Online by Gary Holleman, The Online Epicure by Neil Salkind; as well as in the Chicago Tribune Daily Southtown and Star publications. Don was the Chicago Chef Ambassador to the 2009 Taste & Music Fest in Belfast, Ireland and his accolades include multiple medals and awards from the American Culinary Federation. An advocate of volunteerism and charity events, Don has taught cooking workshops and volunteered his time at the Great Lakes Navel Base, March of Dimes, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Cerebral Palsy and more.

Agnieszka Janowska & Damian Piekarczyk
Owner & Executive Chef  Qulinarnia

Quilinarnia strives to bring new trends of modern Polish cuisine to Chicago. Growing up in Poland, Chef Damian learned to cook traditional, old-world Polish dishes from his grandmother. His 'new world' culinary style was influenced during the years he spent under the tutelage of top chef Sebastian Krauzowicz at at Hotel Crocus – one of the finest hotel restaurants in Zakopane, Poland. Today, Damian is known for his contemporary take on traditional highlander-style cuisine, his passion for sous-vide cooking as well as creativity in food presentation."The intricate plating, micro greens and modern surroundings suggest this is not your typical Polish restaurant.... Qulinarnia lures diners eager for inventive Eastern European dishes that just happen to be Polish.” Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 Food Critic
Jimmy Papadopoulos Executive Chef Bohemian House
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, Papadopoulos joined the opening team of 
De La Costa in Chicago, working under Chef Adam Schop. Later at Sam & Harry’s steakhouse 
in the Renaissance Schaumburg, he served two years as Sous Chef before being named Executive Chef at just 24 years old. Jimmy spent the next four years refining his management philosophy and continually pushing himself to define his craft.
Papadopoulos has a penchant for using seasonal ingredients and building dishes with artful touches reflecting the melting pot of Chicago food culture. At Bohemian House, he is focused 
on developing an evolving menu of approachable Boho-inspired dishes with influences from traditional Eastern European fare. In fact, a recent Crain’s Chicago Business review praised Chef Jimmy in “taking a different approach – modernizing classic dishes with a lighter, fresh twist.”

Congratulations on being named 

Executive Chef Virgin Hotel Chicago!



Coming soon to Public Television