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posted: 5/25/2015 5:00 AM

Aurora chef aims to step back

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  • Amaury Rosado

    Amaury Rosado

  • Marcia and Tom Swingle, owners of the new Menchie's in Lincolnshire.

    Marcia and Tom Swingle, owners of the new Menchie's in Lincolnshire.
    COURTESY OF MENCHIE'S

  • H. John Gilbertson Jr.

    H. John Gilbertson Jr.

  • Colleen Jaltuch

    Colleen Jaltuch

 
 

Amaury Rosado of Aurora has had a number of careers, including stints in the Navy, as a reporter, as a social worker and, more recently, as a chef.

For the last 12 years, he felt like he found his niche as owner of Chef Amaury's in Aurora. He fused his Puerto Rican heritage and his love of everything French to create unique dishes.

"I was a Francofile when it was not considered a macho thing to do," said Rosado, 53.

But with the recent death of his father and a shoulder injury, he has reconsidered his work as a chef. His last open weekend will be on June 26-27, before handing the keys over to his sous chef, who then could create a new vision, he said.

The end of Chef Amaury's also ends an era of being featured on WTTW's "Check, Please" and local food critics who put him on the map.

It's been quite a road for Rosado, who was born and raised in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. He earned a mass communications degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He then was a freelance reporter for the Northwest Extra, which later offered him a job. He declined the full-time reporting job and instead worked for a friend's campaign in the 31st Ward of Chicago.

Later, he worked as a social worker for the Department of Children and Family Services and for another agency. He also was a salesman for a while. But it wasn't until his wife suggested that he go to culinary school to pursue his passion for cooking that he found his niche. He enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu and "felt like I was at home," he said.

He then worked as a private chef until he received some advice from Rick Bayless, owner of Frontera Grill in Chicago and host of the PBS cooking show, "Mexico, One Plate at a Time." Rosado mentioned an idea he had for a new style restaurant and asked Bayless' opinion.

"Rick Bayless talked with me for about a half-hour and gave me the best advice. He said 'just do it.'"

Encouraged, Rosado took a second mortgage on his house and moved ahead with his idea to create a Latin-French fusion restaurant. Chef Amaury's was finally on the front burner.

He originally opened in Aurora when village officials encouraged him to move to a new restaurant section of downtown. His father helped him to build-out the restaurant and helped with his family, Rosado said.

So when his father was diagnosed with cancer and then died last year, Rosado felt a tremendous loss.

"When he passed, it was so difficult. I really miss him," he said. "When he was getting sick last August, I decided to step away and needed to help take care of my dad. He was always there for us. He fought in the Korean War. It took a lot for my parents to come here from Puerto Rico in the 1950s. His death took a lot out of me."

To run a restaurant like Chef Amaury's, a chef needs to put his whole heart and soul into it. But his heart was still grieving, he said.

That's when he decided to step away completely. He said he will remain in the food industry, cook for special events and perhaps even teach. He may even open another restaurant down the road, he said.

"If I don't step out now, it will kill me," he said. "I need to step aside and get healthy and do something again later in the business. It has been a very special time for me, so I will keep my eyes open for another opportunity. When the right one comes along, I'll know it."

New Shedd chairman

H. John Gilbertson Jr. of Lake Forest is the new chairman of the board of trustees at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Gilbertson, a Shedd board member since 2000 and retired managing director of Goldman, Sachs & Co., succeeds Tyrone C. Fahner, partner of global law firm Mayer Brown, who has served in that leadership position since 2012.

FastTracks

Tom and Marcia Swingle last weekend opened Menchie's, a frozen yogurt franchise, at the Lincolnshire Commons in Lincolnshire. Their weeklong grand opening offers specials each day. ... Colleen C. Jaltuch is the new senior project engineer at Engineering Enterprises Inc. in Sugar Grove.

Jennifer Madziarczyk, owner and managing director of youth performing arts organization, Avenue J Studios in North Aurora, will have a grand opening on May 28. ... Srinivas Veeramasuneni, vice president of the USG Corporate Innovation Center in Libertyville, picked up the Innovator of the Year Award for USG, provided by the Executives' Club of Chicago.

Jeff Hett of Bolingbrook received The Legends Award from Ted's Montana Grill restaurant during the company's conference in Atlanta. The company said he grew sales and provided an authentic Big Sky dining experience. As part of his recognition, he received a trip to California's wine country, hosted by Ted's co-founder and CEO, George McKerrow and Ted's President, Kristi Martin.

Mark Paulson, CEO of Katlia Construction in Des Plaines, said his remodeling company has received seven Super Service Awards from Angie's List. ... Tanya Thomas has been promoted to office manager for the McHenry of North Aurora-based Two Men And A Truck Kane/DuPage

• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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