Chicago’s evolving restaurant scene: How can the cherished small guy survive?

Presented by Master Chef Michael Lachowicz
Owner, George Trois, Aboyer, Silencieux, in Winnetka

Remember when you could get a great meal at an independently owned restaurant where the chef was often the owner, dishing out their unique culinary perspective? Well, as large restaurant groups continue to take over our dining scene, more independents are finding it difficult to compete. Will independents lose their voice? Will lovers of great food be impacted? Please join us as master chef Michael Lachowicz gives us his take on Chicago’s evolving restaurant scene, and tells us how cherished independents, like him, can still thrive.

Chef Michael Lachowicz went from helping in his family’s Chicago restaurant to cooking in kitchens spanning from New York to France. With many successful restaurants under his toque, he embodies classic French cuisine and has created a culinary destination in the North suburbs of Chicago. Michael has also gained widespread attention for a weight-loss regimen that saw him fall from more than 400 pounds to not much more than 200 in less than two years.

Michael is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. It was while attending the CIA that he was introduced to the kitchen of Maxime Ribera, a member of the Maitre Cusinier de France. Michael studied under Chef Ribera for two years in New York, before returning to the Chicago area in the late 1980s. He began a three-year stint at Le Francais in Wheeling, where he worked as an assistant to the legendary Chef Jean Banchet.

Michael then left for France to stage at the renowned restaurant Pierre Orsi in Lyon. He also traveled to each region of France, dining in as many highly rated restaurants as he could afford. He returned to the Chicago area in the 1990s and opened Les Deux Gros in Glen Ellyn with his brother. They earned a four-star rating. When Chef Banchet retired, Michael succeeded him at the stoves of Le Francais before starting up his own place, Restaurant Michael, at 64 Green Bay Rd. in Winnetka. That location has now evolved into three distinct French-themed-restaurants, George Trois, Aboyer and Silencieux. In 2019 George Trois became the first suburban restaurant to be named Restaurant of the Year by the Jean Banchet Awards.

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Saturday, February 22, 2020
10 a.m. to noon
At Bethany Retirement Community
Auditorium, main floor
4950 N. Ashland Ave. (West of Clark St., North of Lawrence Ave.), Chicago
FREE PARKING on street and in Bethany’s lot.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Both CTA BUS #81, Lawrence, and #22 Clark, stop nearby.

Cost of the lecture program is $5, $3 for students and no charge for CHC members or Bethany residents and staff. To reserve, please e-mail your reservation: