Growing up on the Southeast Side of Chicago, Rey Villalobos has been immersed in the restaurants industry most of his life. In 2005, he began working in the test kitchen at The Chicago Tribune's food section. That led to a job with Chef Art Smith, who had recently left working for Oprah Winfrey, Villalobos became Chef de Cuisine at Smith's newly opened Table 52 in Chicago's Gold Coast, focusing on seasonal ingredients. More recently, they re-conceived the restaurant - turning it into Blue Door Kitchen and Garden - appointing Villalobos the Corporate Executive Chef of the entire portfolio at the parent company, Ideology Entertainment, including Chicago Q and La Storia Ristorante. Chef Rey accepted Rick's Ingredient Challenge this week, making an easy weeknight meal in 15 minutes or less using mussels as the main ingredient.
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