Tribute Announces Kitchen Team

Tribute is pleased to announce an all-star lineup of Sous Chefs that will be at the helm in the kitchen with Executive Chef Brandon Baltzley.  Opening in May 2011, Tribute will be a classic American restaurant with a modern culinary edge in the South Loop.  The menu at Tribute will be designed to appeal to both the casual diner as well as the sophisticated, discerning foodie.  Menu item prices will be balanced favoring low to moderate pricing, with daily specials that include some higher priced items.  The flavorful breakfast, lunch and dinner menus will use local and sustainable products that support Midwestern farms and suppliers for both food and beverages whenever possible.

Executive Chef Brandon Baltzley is excited to have such a strong team in the kitchen: “This time we went through the hiring process completely different.  Instead of choosing people with similar interests, we tried to find people who are different, who have different skills.  We work off each other very well and we know when to rein each other in.  Over time, I have learned that a balance of knowledge and skill in a brigade is key – were so close to harmony”, says Baltzley. 
With a political science degree and five years of out-side sales experience, a career as a chef was far from Lawrence Letrero’s endeavors.  Originally from Windsor Ontario Canada, a long love of cooking at home, circumstance, and a dare, brought Lawrence to Chicago where he attended Kendall College’s Culinary Program.  Upon graduation, Lawrence joined the opening team at Perennial Restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Park under Chef Ryan Poli. Moving quickly from garde manger to lead cook, Lawrence learned the importance of proper technique, respect for product, and the attention to detail needed to run a successful kitchen.  After a stage at Per Se Restaurant (Manhatten, NY), Lawrence moved on as the opening Sous Chef at Karyn’s On Green Restaurant, Chicago’s first all vegan fine dining establishment.  Promoted to Chef De Cuisine, Lawrence loved the challenge of executing the quality of food he is accustomed to without the assistance of any animal product.  His time at Karyn’s allowed him to further develop a better understanding of produce and its beauty.  Lawrence joins the team at Tribute Restaurant as our Executive Sous Chef.  He still enjoys cooking at home. 

The oldest of two, born and raised outside of Cleveland Ohio, Shawn knew cooking was his passion at a very young age. He started his career working as a dishwasher and eventually worked his way up the ladder and started cooking full time. After high school he attended PA Culinary in Pittsburgh. After graduating he moved to Grand Rapids Michigan which was the budding of his career. After spending six and a half years there working as an executive chef in two of the cities great restaurants he moved on to Ann Arbor to help his mentor open a friends restaurant. There is where he learned to appreciate the local food scene. He moved to Chicago in May of 2010 to try his hand in a bigger city. Working at Avec, Alinea and also staging all around the city, Shawn credits Don Hammond, Grant Achatz, Andrew Graves and Ben Martinkovic as big influences in his career. Shawn joins the Tribute team as Sous Chef.

An only child born and raised in NW Indiana, Joshua started his professional cooking career at The Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso, IN. That’s where he decided to go to culinary school at the Cooking Hospitality Institute of Chicago. After school, and a few stages in the city, Joshua moved to Chicago to cook. He spent time at Spiaggia, Veerasway, and Nightwood among others. While not in a kitchen, Joshua brews delicious beer, and attempts to create an organic farm on his tiny apartment stoop. Fergus Henderson, Alice Waters, Jason Vincent, Paul Kahn, Heston Blumenthall and Dr.Seuss are all huge influences. Joshua joins Tribute as Sous Chef.

A Chow Crowd Restaurant
800 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605


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