Raised in Houston, based in Chicago and thoroughly inspired by Italy, â€œTop Chefâ€ finalist Sarah Grueneberg is about to open Monteverde, a modern Italian restaurant at 1020 W. Madison.
A 15-year industry veteran, Sarahâ€™s career has been punctuated with experiences that sculpted her culinary approach; most recently, she served as executive chef of the acclaimed Italian restaurant Spiaggia under chef/partner Tony Mantuano.
She moved to Chicago from her native Houston in 2005 to accept a line cook position, and over a five-year period came to helm the Michelin-starred kitchen, earning accolades throughout her tenure. A defining period in her career, Sarah credits Spiaggia with nurturing her love of Italian cuisine and culture, and she tours and trains throughout Italyâ€™s rich culinary regions as often as possible.
In 2011, Sarahâ€™s talent gained international acclaim through Bravoâ€™s reality show, â€œTop Chef: Texas,â€ where she finished as a finalist. She also appeared as an all-star aboard â€œTop Chef At Sea,â€ traveling through France and the Iberian Peninsula. After earning her Associateâ€™s Degree in Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of Houston in 2001, Sarahâ€™s first taste of kitchen life came when she served as a line cook at the iconic Brennanâ€™s of Houston. She became the restaurantâ€™s youngest-ever sous chef at age 22. Monteverde is Sarahâ€™s first restaurant, which she co-owns with business partner Meg Sahs.
Kiki Luthringshausen is a reformed interior designer of 15 years who fell into her dream job in 2010 as an Epicurean Entertainer. Prior to her big career change, Kiki was a lifestyle expert and writer for local publications and a contributor for live news segments for local affiliates ABC, NBC, WGN and CBS. She is now the official ambassador of Marianoâ€™s and can be seen hosting culinary events around town. As a freelance food and lifestyle writer, sheâ€™s also the author behind the popular food blog Beauty and Her Feast. Entrenched in the food industry, Kiki frequents the cityâ€™s hottest restaurants while clinking glasses with the most sought after chefs. Itâ€™s why sheâ€™s the perfect host for Marianoâ€™s Tastemaker series.