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updated: 1/17/2013 7:38 PM

Local chef to appear on ABC's 'The Taste' Jan. 22

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  • Paul Caravelli of 545 North Bar & Grill in Libertyville

    Paul Caravelli of 545 North Bar & Grill in Libertyville
    Paul Caravelli

Deirdre O'Donnell

Libertyville, IL, January 15, 2013: Paul Caravelli is the big personality in the little kitchen in downtown Libertyville…His red hair and infectious, if not naughty smile would be the first hint of what is simmering behind his lively eyes. But it's his flair for creating upscale and snappy dishes that speaks for itself.

Caravelli, a graduate of Kendall Culinary School in Chicago, has been in a kitchen learning and perfecting his craft since childhood. When he packed up his apron and knives and flew to Los Angeles in September as one of dozens of finalists selected from thousands, he knew he had a great shot to appear on the first reality chef show a network television station has produced.

"I was just so psyched to be in the same room as Anthony Bourdain…even if he was going to be rude to me," gushes Caravelli. "But I can take what he dishes -- so to speak!"

Caravelli cannot disclose many details of his trip to Los Angeles, but it is enough to say that he did meet Bourdain, and he was his trademark self.

545 North Bar and Grill is a small, upscale modern American bistro in the suburbs but it feels very urban. Its exposed brick and slate walls and gleaming copper bar are welcoming to their many regulars and newcomers alike. Open for almost seven years and boasting many of the same staff as on opening night, the staff and owners couldn't be more proud of their very own "Pauly".

"Paul is so charismatic and fun to be around he just naturally attracts a crowd," states partner, Deirdre O'Donnell. "He is that rare combination of childlike wonder and playfulness and yet a true perfectionist of his craft."

Tune in Tuesday evenings beginning January 22nd and see how far Paul Caravelli can take his big skills and even bigger personality or join the crew at "The Five" as they cheer on their fearless leader.