Alumni Chef Riley O'Dette visits ECC culinary arts department

Chef Riley O'Dette, a 2017 Elgin Community College Culinary Arts program graduate, recently returned to campus to speak with current students, provide a cooking demo, and host the Visiting Chef Dining Night at the Spartan Terrace Restaurant in Elgin.

O'Dette considers his cooking style to be quirky and refined, combining household staples and classic preparations in new and fresh ways.

After graduating, O'Dette took the industry by storm, working at Publican Quality Break and Bellemore Restaurant before landing his dream job at Michelin Star-awarded Sepia Restaurant in downtown Chicago.

He has been at Sepia for three years and currently holds the position of sous chef.

"The most important thing I learned at ECC is that my career was up to me," O'Dette said. "Putting in the additional practice and showing up to my class put me in the mindset of what it would take to survive in big city kitchens. Going through the motions doesn't cut it."

His four-course dinner included a shrimp and grits dish, with shrimp dressed in XO and tamarind and an aerated grit cloud; a spiced carrot pasta salad with minted peas and a lemon cream sauce; a classic rack of lamb with artichoke barigoule, purée riffing, and spinach artichoke dip; and a sweet and savory dessert featuring a strawberry pavlova with goat cheese mousse, pistachio, and black pepper.

For more information about Spartan Terrace Restaurant, visit

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