18 May Avondale Restaurant Crawl–participating restaurant Food First Chicago
Food First Chicago has been doing catering for several years. Recently they opened a café in addition to the catering service.
See the video above to learn about the Thai noodle salad they will be offering at this year’s Avondale Restaurant Crawl.
Describe the type of food Food First serves and why you chose that?
Food First’s food offerings are as diverse as the Avondale neighborhood. We go out of our way to excel in Asian, Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean and other specialties. Why does that work? Because I love food and have been cooking since I was 16 years old.
I have been lucky enough to have worked with some of the best chefs and restaurants in Chicago. One of the first chefs I worked with was Chef Tony Greco when I was starting my career with Ala Carte Entertainment. He taught me everything I know about Italian food; he was so passionate about his cooking that it definitely rubbed off on me. I also had the pleasure of working with Chef John Clancy when I became one of the chefs at Magnum’s Steakhouse. John is now the Executive Chef at the House of Blues downtown. I also worked alongside another great chef by the name of Tim Edstrom when I was the Executive Chef at Nick’s Fishmarket.
Each one of these chefs played a big part in my culinary career. They introduced me to the intricate, unique processes needed for each unique cuisine style. I believe the great thing about being a chef is that you never stop learning about your craft. That is why whenever I am not working on the weekends my family and I love to go out and try new restaurants. I know this is definitely playing a big role in what my kids love to eat. How many 5-year-olds do you know that love sushi and Indian food. My little girl Isabella does!!
How long have you been doing business in the Avondale area?
We had a presence here at 3207 N. Elston when Bulldog Bakery was using most of the available space for its products. Until February 2016, Food First was exclusively a catering business operating out of a small section of this retail space. Our catering clients include Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Citi Group and HNTB just to name a few of the Fortune 500 companies that we do business with on a daily basis in the downtown area.
We started as a corporate catering company but ever since becoming the preferred caterer for Michelle’s Ballroom we have been doing a lot more private parties such as weddings, bar mitzvahs and sweet 16s not only for Michelle’s Ballroom but at other venues such as Stan Mansion and Room 1520. But I think more than anything I enjoy the interaction with customers who stop by to dine in or simply pick up one of our delicious paninis to go.
What do you like best about doing business in Avondale?
We chose Avondale because its population is as diverse as our menu. There is no other restaurant serving what we do, so we decided to fill the niche with Mediterranean vegetable sandwiches, Cubano paninis, southwestern salad, and more. We offer excellent quality and conscientious sourcing for people who put food first—people who enjoy flavors and have fun eating, but want to eat wisely, and eat healthy foods.
What do you hope to get out of participating in 4th Annual Avondale Restaurant Crawl?
I hope to meet a lot of food-lovers who will enjoy the noodle salad we serve so much that they return again and again, each time ordering something else so they realize Food First puts taste buds first, allowing food lovers to enjoy their food AND feel good about how healthy they are eating.
3207 N. Elston Ave, Chicago