by Shane Kalminski
As a young boy, Bobby Schaffer used to print menus, take orders and cook for his family. It’s no surprise that today he’s one of Chicago’s most talked about names in culinary arts.
Working as the pastry chef at Grace, which was just listed as the number one restaurant in the country by Robb Report, Schaffer uses his worldly inspirations and overall love of food to create dessert masterpieces that have been described as “delicious and elusive, yet familiar.”
Recently named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30, we’re thrilled to interview Bobby Schaffer on his career, influences and of course, his favorite things about Chicago!
How did you get started in Culinary Arts?
I’ve always had an interest in food from a young age, but decided early on that I would pursue business as a career.
Midway through university I realized that the traditional avenue of working my way up in a business setting wouldn’t be a satisfying life.
I dropped out of school and chanced going to culinary school with the idea of opening a gelato shop or something small and was really unsure as to where it would lead.
I enrolled in Kendall College and loved it. After graduating I had an oppurtunity to live in Spain, travelling, eating, learning and working which really developed me as a young cook and pushed me on my current path.
What advice do you have for people interested in pursuing a career in Culinary Arts?
Be realistic about what it means to work in the food service industry.
I think many people see the Food Network and think “hey I’d love to do that” and then set out on this dream without the realization of the long hours, years of dedication and everything else that it takes to be involved with food.
Once you can accept that I recommend constantly striving to learn and push yourself to be better on a daily basis. Just having that attitude will take you far in the industry.
Do you have a proudest culinary accomplishment or moment?
I think winning the scholarship to Spain and the opportunities that brought along with it. Through that I got to work with two of Spain’s best chefs as well as eat as Spain’s top restaurants.
Chicago Top 3 List:
Biking in Chicago
Concerts in Millenium Park
Different cuisines available in neighborhoods (Argyle Vietnemese, Devon Indain, Chinatown, etc)
Finally, What’s your favorite pastry to make or eat?
I love working with chocolate and making chocolate bon bons in various flavors!
With many amazing honors already under it’s belt and currently rated the number one restaurant in the city by Chicago Magazine, Grace restaurant is quickly becoming a Chicago staple. Make your reservations today so you can be one of the lucky people who experience the culinary masterpieces created by Mr. Schaffer and the rest of the dedicated and passionate team at Grace!
BoConcept is proud to have a part in Grace. The sitting lounge is furnished with our Veneto chairs.
BoConcept Veneto chairs and the BoConcept Morani sofa in the Grace sitting lounge.