(CHICAGO; May 6, 2015) - On Monday, May 4, culinary luminaries from around the nation flocked to Chicago for the James Beard Foundation Awards - held for the first time outside of New York City in its twenty five-year history. Hosted by personality Alton Brown, known for his superb comedic timing and quick wit, the evening presented moments both poignant and entertaining as winners were announced in a host of categories. However, it was Chicago's most prolific culinary leaders who stole the show with the debut of "The Chef Whisperer," a hilarious short film presented by Partners and Executive Producers at the Illinois Restaurant Association, Choose Chicago, Potenza Productions, The Second City and Kevin Boehm of the Boka Restaurant Group

The film chronicles the interactions between an all-star culinary cast and character Carl Stankowski, who works "silently, behind the scenes" to guide each personality to greatness. Played by The Second City's John Hartman, the chef whisperer mentors industry greats - most of whom are also James Beard Foundation Award winners - throughout the film in short, humorous segments. The cast includes superstars Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next, The Aviary); Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO); Carlos Gaytan (Mexique); Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner); Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Terzo Piano, Bar Toma, River Roast); Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You); Mindy Segal (Mindy's Hot Chocolate); Alpana Singh (The Boarding House, Seven Lions); Art Smith (Table Fifty-Two); Doug Sohn (Hot Doug's); Takashi Yagihashi (Slurping Turtle) and others. Special cameos included those by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

View "The Chef Whisperer" here:

"The Chef Whisperer" was written by John Hartman and Kate James, directed by Rocco Cataldo and produced by Mary Kay Cook. The film's titles were designed by Grip and the original score is by Josephine Lee and Dave Hiltebrand, with post-production by Coat of Arms



Illinois Restaurant Association/Chicago Gourmet

Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Now in its eighth year, the IRA also produces bon appétit presents Chicago Gourmet, the nation's premier culinary experience aimed at promoting Chicago's world-class culinary community. Taking place September 26-27, 2015, Chicago Gourmet celebrates and honors Chicago's culinary achievements and the creative vision of the chefs, master sommeliers, and wine-, spirit-, and beer-makers who participate. It spotlights Chicago as an international culinary destination via its unparalleled epicurean talent. For more information, please visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago® is the official destination marketing organization for Chicago, Illinois. Our mission is to bring regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago for the economic benefit of the City, the community and our membership.


Potenza Productions

Potenza Productions was established to explore the infinite possibilities that exist within stories, people and creative content. With over 15 years of experience creating award-winning short films, features, commercials, television programming, web content and music videos, Potenza applies a very artistic cinematic style to all types of projects.


The Second City

Beginning as a small cabaret theatre on Chicago's north side in 1959, The Second City has grown to become a comedy empire - building a robust $50+ million business based on its core improvisational methodologies. Resident theatres in Chicago and Toronto create topical sketch comedy revues that satirize politics, culture and news of the day.  Additionally, Second City performs thousands of shows each year in regional theatres, colleges, performing arts centers and through an exclusive partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line.  Beyond its stages, The Second City created the foremost school of improvisation-based arts in the world - with training facilities in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles that currently enroll over 11,000 students annually; a corporate division that works with hundreds of Fortune 500 companies in areas of training, marketing, entertainment and brand services; and The Second City's forays into television and new media include the classic, Emmy Award-winning comedy series SCTV and continues to produce new content and programming originating from The Second City Entertainment's offices in Los Angeles.


Kevin Boehm

After opening 17 successful restaurants over two decades, James Beard nominated restaurateur Kevin Boehm has become one of the nation's most successful owner/operators. Kevin, along with partner Rob Katz have not only built a successful restaurant group, but have established a restaurant culture built on great chefs, inspired hospitality, and amazing design.

Boehm opened several restaurants in the 1990's, getting his education opening and selling four places before the age of 30. In 2002, Boehm partnered with Rob Katz and the two established Boka Restaurant Group. The pair would open 13 restaurants in less than 12 years: Boka (2003), Landmark (2005), Perennial (2008), Girl & the Goat (2010), GT Fish & Oyster (2011), Perennial Virant (2011), Balena (2012), Elaine's Coffee Call (2012), The J. Parker (2012), Little Goat Bread (2012), Little Goat Diner (2013),  Little Goat Diner at the French Market (2014), and Momotaro (2014). They are also opening 3 new restaurants in 2015, Duck Duck Goat, Armour & Swift, and Gt Prime.

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Illinois Restaurant Association | Janet Isabelli | | (312) 878-1222

Choose Chicago | Meghan Risch | | (312) 567-8540

Potenza Productions | Mary Kay Cook | | (312) 469-0900

The Second City | Robin Hammond | | (312) 664-4032

Kevin Boehm, Boka Restaurant Group | Katy Darnaby | | (312) 265-6026