The Epic Story Of My Culinary Journey
Having been born into the hospitality industry, becoming a lover of good food and being a natural “people person”, I understand that food truly does bring people together. My goal is to bring good food and good people together in a way that honors both. I know that eating and drinking around the dinner table is a wonderful way to honor the past, enjoy the present and anticipate the future!
My years in the food industry have been a wild and wonderful ride, including stints as a cook or chef at award-winning restaurants including Landmark Bar and Grill (BoKa Restaurant Group), Westend Bar and Grill (Four Corners Tavern Group), Big Star (One Off Hospitality), TWO Restaurant and Bar, Drury Lane Theater, White Oak Tavern & Inn and The Winchester. During that time, I worked with and learned from some amazing chefs and restaurateurs who pushed me to work hard and present guests with amazing food. I feel honored to have been recognized as a “Rising Star Chef” by The James Beard Foundation as well as one of “30 Chefs in the Country to Watch” by Plate Magazine, 2 time nominee for the Jean Banchet Awards, as well as accolades from the Michelin Guide, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Scene, Time Out Chicago, among others.
Honored member of 30 Chefs to Watch Around the Country, 2015.
Michelin Bib Gourmand
Received multiple Bib Gourmand awards from the Michelin Guide.
March of Dimes
Proudly serving as Chef-chair for the annual Gala since 2016!
No Kid Hungry
Proud supporter of Share Our Strength organization to help end child hunger.
“Not only was our meal incredible, but Tom orchestrated the evening with skill and ease as a perfect host. The result was a private event that was personal and meaningful. None of us will ever forget it. I cannot recommend Tom highly enough, and I look forward to the next time I can call on Tom as a partner to create another amazing experience.”Rod T.Wife's Surprise Birthday Party
“A wonderful evening celebrating friends was made better by the incredible menu prepared by Tom Van Lente. Each course was thoughtfully prepared, artistically plated and delicious. It is evident that the top-notch care that Tom invests is not limited to just his culinary creations. He is also thoughtful when it comes to his guests.”Amanda T. Z.Private In Home Dinner
“Tom's team took our coats, handed us a special cocktail, and treated us like gold for the rest of the night. Tom has a true culinary passion and talent. He tailored every dish to the guest of honor, explained the sourcing of the food, and involved us in the evening. The food was delicious and every course was perfect. I can't recommend him highly enough as a chef and host.”Stephanie B.Anniversary Dinner
“Selling meat for a living and I really appreciate a chef who can be creative and execute tasty recipes while letting the ingredients speak for themselves. Chef Tom totally understands his products and puts them together impeccably. He is also great table side...you'll enjoy his food and company. Don't forget to give him a glass of brown.”Charlie K.Director of Business Development, Chicago Meat Authority
“I've had the pleasure of working with and becoming friends with Tom over the past several years. He's warm, hospitable, fun to be around, professional, and perhaps most importantly, he makes incredibly delicious food. He excels in many different cuisines and settings. Throughout the time I've known him, I've eaten his food hundreds of times, both in restaurants and at home, and it always strikes the right balance between comforting and surprising.”Collis H.Public Relations Professional