The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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100  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 HOT PROPERTY W hen you meet Joshua Hasho, his baby-faced looks and mellow demeanor belie this young Executive Chef's hefty resumé: Having chefed at Ritz-Carlton properties across the country, Hasho's also earned some notches on his cutting block by spending time under Laurent Tourondel at BLT in New York and Thomas Keller at the legendary The French Laundry in Napa Valley. With an impressive pedigree, Hasho is flourish- ing at 676 Restaurant, overlooking the Magnificent Mile in the famed Omni Chicago Hotel. Here, Hasho and his team have set a goal that some might say would be difficult to achieve in a town like Chicago, where inclement weather is about as unfriendly as they come: "We try to keep everything sourced within 100 miles," he says. "That, of course, depends on whatever season we are in and whatever winter vortex we are going through," he continues with a laugh. So while great relationships with farmers make "local" a breeze when there's no freeze, Hasho relies on his own creative talents to bring life to the fruit of the tundra. "It can be a challenge, because how many different ways can you roast a beet or make a potato? We look for new ways to use what is available and apply different applica- tions; using different vegetables to make a unique mash, things like that." But during the Midwest's deep freeze, that challenge is something Hasho won't shy away from. "At a certain point," he says, "you have to just embrace it and admit that there are going to be weeks where a lot is not going to be available. We communicate with the guest and tell them why things are not available. We explain why we are not going to be bringing heirloom tomatoes in from Mexico, and we try to provide alternatives," he says, commenting that the carbon footprint on such an endeavor just "isn't worth it." But while Hasho and his team are able to work magic with Michigan cherries and bring new life to the classic Chicago steakhouse, this young chef literally lights up as he walks into his meat locker, where everything from capicola, to duck prosciutto and goat summer sausage hang, tagged and ready to be served on the restaurant's signature charcuterie board. "We get one to two animals a month," says Hasho proudly as he hand-slices the meats and serves them aside an array of housemade jams and preserves. "They come from local farms and are humanely raised and treated." We ask if he has a butcher on staff, and he's quick to reply that he breaks down all of the animals himself. "It takes a little bit more time and effort, but the end result is much better than something processed in a plant. It's really important that we get the maxi- mum yield on that—the only things left over at the end of the day are the bones, and we use that for stock." Although his cuisine certainly falls under both categories, the "nose to tail" and "farm to table" terms are perhaps too buzzwordy for Hasho. "We are a Midwest restaurant," he explains proudly. "We strive to feature what is special to this location and its seasons, and if we can't make it in-house, we will source it from around the city of Chicago. We are creating our own terroir, if you will, and I think that is important." The 676 Restaurant's signature charcuterie board features house- made meats and jams. Celebrating Midwestern Terroir under both categories, the "nose to tail" Midwest restaurant," he explains proudly. from around the city of Chicago. We are creating our own terroir, if you will, and I The 676 Restaurant's signature charcuterie board features house- by Rachel Burkons / photos by Jill Tiongco EVEN IN WINTER, THE OMNI CHICAGO HOTEL KEEPS IT LOCAL

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