Chestnut Provisions is an artisanally-driven food production concept created by Sofitel Chicago executive chef Greg Biggers, featuring an assortment of cave aged cheeses, charcuterie, jams and preserves. Hand-crafted by Biggers and his team in the kitchens of Sofitel Chicago, the house made products inspire new dishes at Le Bar and on Sofitel Chicago’s private event menus, but take center stage at Café des Architectes.
Chestnut Provisions was a natural next step in the restaurant’s seasonal and local focus. Biggers’ dedication to local farmers has shaped his culinary work ethic and his philosophy of sourcing the best product available. Chestnut Provisions takes this notion one step further by producing the best and freshest product in house, just steps from the dinner table. At the same time, Biggers continues to support his favorite dairy and livestock farmers, receiving top quality raw ingredients. The result is a conscious approach to ingredient-sourcing, creating an authentic dining experience for guests.
A true labor of love, Chestnut Provisions is the result of several food quality initiatives taken by Biggers over the last several years. A Certified Professional of Food Safety, Biggers also achieved the HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) certification for Sofitel Chicago and its operating food and beverage outlets.
Other licenses along the way permitted Biggers to use sous vide cooking methods, to can and preserve produce and to dry age meat. Having these certifications placed his end goal within reach: to obtain a license for a Dairy Manufacturing Plant. It is a difficult license to achieve and requires strict production standards, including the proper equipment, expertise in pasteurization and a sterile working environment as mandated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. With this in hand, Biggers was able to move forward in utilizing his kitchen as a cheese production facility, complete with a temperature and humidity controlled cave.
Cheese, Charcuterie, Preserves
While Chestnut Provisions’ offerings are largely driven by the season, diners can expect an evergreen selection of cave aged cheeses including Brie, Chevre and Taleggio. Charcuterie offerings include Soppressata, Pepperone and Brescola. The program will expand over time and will include specialty items such as a six-month aged raw milk cheddar cheese and Spence Farms Guinea Hog prosciutto.
Diners can also look forward to lamb and goat charcuterie from Catalpa Grove Farm, another favorite farmer of Chef Biggers. Canned products, which are harvested in the warmer months, bridge the gap of winter by incorporating the flavors of summer into dishes year round. Ranging from pickled carrots and banana peppers to preserved eggplant and flavored vinegars, Chef Biggers’ pantry is fully stocked with inspiration. Jams, both sweet and savory, include options such as cherry mostarda, pineapple miso and strawberry tomato and serve as the perfect accoutrement to cheese and charcuterie.