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In the Kitchen with Chef Mike Sheerin of Taureaux Tavern

No matter what they say, you can come home again. Just ask Mike Sheerin, the Midwest native now at the helm of Taureaux Tavern {155 West Van Buren Street, Chicago; 312.624.8778}. After working in the New York food scene for years, Sheerin finally came back to the Midwest when he became the first-ever chef de cuisine under James Beard Award-winning chef, Paul Kahan, at the Michelin Star-rated Blackbird restaurant. He then worked in the kitchens of Cicchetti, Embeya, Trenchermen, and Rockit Bar & Grill, before heading to Taureaux Tavern to deliver exceptional service and French-inspired cuisine to diners in the Chicago Loop.

He has artfully crafted the menus at Taureaux Tavern to accommodate the tastes of each guest, from the cursory traveler to the formal businessperson. Each dish, no matter the menu or daypart, is created to bring diners a light but delicious taste of French cuisine. We spoke to Sheerin about his own culinary influences, and what led him to the Windy City food world…

DiningOut: Who were some of your earliest culinary influences?

Sheerin: My three earliest influences were Jean George, Wylie Dufresne, and Paul Kahan.

You worked in New York at the start of your career. What brought you back to the Midwest?

I came back to open Trencherman with my brother, Pat Sheerin, but ultimately my family and friends brought me back.

Tell us about your time at Blackbird.

I loved Blackbird from the very first time my parents took me there after graduating from culinary school. The restaurant allowed me to find a voice, regain humble sensibilities, and grow as a leader and person.

What led you to Taureaux Tavern?

Being familiar with the team from Cochon Volant Brasserie, I knew that there was an opportunity to create an instant classic establishment and get back to my cooking roots at Taureaux Tavern: French food.

How have you put your own spin on the menu?

I focus on cooking light, delicious fare in a classic French style.

What is the best part of your job? The toughest?

The best part is working with my two sous chefs, Eric Tiglao and John Avila.

One of the toughest parts is the communication barrier with non-English speaking employees. My Spanish is solid, but I could always use more knowledge of the language!

What do you love most about the Chicago food world?

The speed at which it seems to grow! Chicago is growing and changing its’ eating habits as fast as diners are asking for new and interesting foods.

What’s next for Taureaux Tavern?

We plan to add a few more pastas and continue to grow our breakfast offerings.

Interview by Kaleigh Glaza | Online Editor