Carol Buckantz loved science and children and at tone time aspired to become a pediatrician.
But an interest in her grandfather's restaurant while growing up in Cleveland and later taking some cooking classes altered her career plans. She decided to become a chef.
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The Schaumburg resident, 42, recently became the executive chef at Oak Brook Hills Resort and aims to create new farm-to-table events and other dinner experiences that will keep diners coming back for more than just a Sunday brunch.
"I want to change the way of thinking on how we eat and to use local farmers more," Buckantz said. "I want to work more out of the box and create more excitement on the table."
A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Buckantz said she was told at the beginning that it could be a tough profession.
"They said you had to work hard and be very dedicated and creative and need to work long hours. I understood that and had no problem with it," she said.
In the last 20 years, she has worked for a variety of companies, including the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale and even her own Moveable Gourmet business.
Now at Oak Brook, she aims to create chef table events, featuring farmers who can talk about pork or beef or chicken, or even their crops.
"People today like to buy and eat local," she said. "There aren't a lot doing farm-to-table events and I think we can even integrate it into banquets," she said.
She is also working to include a weekly farmers market on the resort's campus and offer culinary classes.
In addition, she's hoping to partner with local breweries to offer craft beer dinners or local spirits.
"It would be great to put tables outside in the garden and do dinners there, too," she said.
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