Hello! “Roister” means to enjoy oneself or celebrate in a noisy, boisterous way, and the restaurant by that name fits right into the bustling Fulton Market area of the trendy West Loop. Unpretentious, yet serious about standards of excellence, it was awarded a Michelin star in its first year and has retained it since. Chef Andrew Brochu has spent time in some of Chicago’s most illustrious kitchens, but Roister is where you see his creative culinary point of view flourish. I spoke to Andrew to learn about his influences and inspiration. Here’s what he had to say:
Cat: What’s your culinary philosophy?
Brochu: I don’t think it is a one thought answer. I believe in integrity, cooking with soul and grit, bold flavors, global inspirations, and making delicious plates.
Cat: Many of your dishes have a comfort food gone upscale vibe. Where do you pull your influences when concepting new dishes for the menu?
Brochu: I gather inspiration from everywhere. I love studying different cultures and their food. I love thinking about how one culture’s food might seem different from another’s on the surface, and then finding similarities that are obvious if you look. I love being inspired by what I haven’t learned yet or by what I’m craving at a particular time. It’s constantly changing, which is what makes it so new all the time.
Roister Chef Brochu and Owner Grant Achatz
Cat: What have been the most influential experiences and who has helped shape your culinary point of view?
Brochu: I think the cooking at Roister is influenced and inspired by everything I have learned in my life about food — starting with my southern upbringing, all the way through my time at casual chain restaurants, my time at Alinea and with chef Achatz, my developing curiosity when I was a chef before I was probably ready to be a chef, teaching others, and just always being inspired by restaurants. I’d like to think that now at Roister, I have an arsenal of life-long learning experiences and drive behind me.
Cat: What is your advice to first time diners at Roister on how to approach the menu?
Brochu: Have fun, don’t take it too seriously, come hungry, come happy, and enjoy yourself. And order whatever sounds delicious to you!