Foodease expands its palate with the addition of new Executive Chef

CHICAGO, IL – November 29, 2012 – Janet Kirker is joining Lettuce Entertain You as the Executive Chef at Foodease Market (835 N. Michigan Ave., 312-335-3663), where she has been enlisted to help expand the concept through menu creation and operations. She is excited to share her love for delicious, healthful and homemade food with all of the loyal customers of Foodease. Kirker states, “Foodease is the perfect opportunity for me to reflect on my past experiences and use them to fill the restaurant with a huge variety of flavors and add to the palate that is already great.”

A native to Champaign, IL, Kirker always knew she wanted to be a chef. She obtained her B.S. in Restaurant Management from the University of Illinois in 1993, and a month after graduation Kirker enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation in 1995, Kirker went to work at Chicago’s iconic restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s, spending most of her time in the pastry department. In 1998, Janet received an opportunity to be the opening Assistant Pastry Chef at Danny Meyer’s Contemporary Indian Cuisine restaurant, Tabla, in New York City. Getting back to the savory side of the kitchen, Kirker moved to Napa and became Sous Chef at Café Lucy, a restaurant that features dishes grown in their own garden. In 2004, Janet returned to Chicago as Sous Chef at Charlie Trotter’s. She then eased in to a role as Executive Chef of Trotter’s To Go, specializing in gourmet food to go. Janet was most recently the Executive Chef at The Chopping Block, Chicago’s largest recreational cooking school and gourmet retail store. She spent nearly five years exploring food through teaching and entertaining. Kirker reflects, “Teaching forces you to really understand your craft. Part of being a successful chef is being a good teacher so the cooks do the work you need them to and in turn, the entire team grows.”

“You can expect to find seasonal products from local purveyors,” says Kirker. “Dishes like Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberry and Almonds and a Savory Bread Pudding with Sausage, Kale and Squash will be added to the market options that make Foodease great.”

For more information on Foodease, please call 312-335-3663 or visit or Foodease Market on Facebook.

Just a few steps from Michigan Avenue, Foodease lets guests experience “restaurant-quality food prepared to-go.” The restaurant is dedicated to fresh prep; using ingredients sourced from quality vendors to prepare foods made from scratch. Selections include made-to-order sandwiches and sushi, meals from our gourmet deli and custom salad, soup and hot entrée bars. Our wine bar and retail wine shop features over 150 selections. You will also find many handmade local products, artisanal cheeses and a chocolate room filled with our favorite sweets and confections. Foodease has dine-in seating for 50 and is open every day of the week for lunch and dinner. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, please call 312-335-3663 or visit Foodease on Facebook or Twitter (@Foodeasemarket).

Foodease is a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc. (LEYE) restaurant. Based in Chicago, LEYE, celebrating 40 years, is one of the nation’s leading independent restaurant groups, owning, managing or licensing more than 80 establishments in Illinois, Arizona, Minnesota, Maryland, Nevada, California and Virginia. The establishments range from the casual style and cuisine of the original restaurant, R.J. Grunts, to the formal elegance of Everest and Tru.