On tour with Madonna and preparing for the release of his new wine, Deep, Chicago celebrity chef/designer Jamie Laurita is firing on all cylinders.
When he’s not on the road with worldfamous rock stars, chef Jaime Laurita finds time to launch gourmet products like his new Barbaresco, Deep.
He’s toured the world cooking for rock stars like Aerosmith, Madonna, and Sarah McLachlan (with whom he wrote the cookbook Plenty), but Chicago is where Jaime Laurita’s heart is. It’s also where the New Jersey native has found the inspiration to create gourmet products like Bello Boy Moscato and Pasta Perfetto. As he recently prepared to set off for Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour (this time as backstage coordinator), the Wicker Park creative spoke with Michigan Avenue about his new wine, Deep, life on the road, and how Chicago feeds his spirit.
You’re known as a chef, but you do so much else. How do you defne yourself? I’ve been called a lot of things—an alchemist, a witch doctor. I’m kind of a conduit for the calm. My goal is to give as much peace to the artist as possible.
What is your role as Madonna’s backstage coordinator? I build her world every day with the team. When you’re on the road, the one thing you’re deprived of is that feeling of home base, so it’s my ultimate goal to create a level of consistency that feels the most like home.
Let’s talk about the new wine. Deep is my new Barbaresco. It’s a really great Italian varietal of a great vintage year. We really researched the 2010 Barbarescos — that’s our vintage year—which are being compared to the ’05s, which were really great quality with a great growing season.
Who in the Chicago culinary community do you admire? I appreciate Mindy Segal, from Mindy’s Hot Chocolate (1747 N. Damen Ave., 773-489-1747), who has done her craft for so long and then all of a sudden her dough rises, if that makes sense, and now she puts out this great cookbook [Cookie Love]. And Debbie Sharpe from Goddess and Grocer (1649 N. Damen Ave., 773-342-3200). To me she’s an icon.
How does Chicago inspire you? There’s just an energy in this city. I’ve been to most metropolitan areas and a lot of cities across the world [on tour], but when we come back to Chicago, the artists and crew always say the same thing: The crowd is the best in Chicago. It’s the greatest city for me in the world.