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Chef Battle: Cliff Rome

Chef Cliff Rome remembers when he first fell in love with cooking. Standing on a can, peering around his grandmother’s hip, he wondered what was inside the tall stockpot she’d been cooking all night.

“She was like, ‘Greens.’ It’s like, that’s what you were doing all night?” Rome recalls. “She’d stay up all night picking greens, and then cleaning them, and then they stay on the stove for, as a kid, it was like forever and ever and ever.”

That childhood fascination led Rome to Kendall College, where he first interned for Wolfgang Puck. He joined the kitchen and catering staff at Spago, where he counted Puck and executive chef Francois Kwaku-Dongo as mentors.

In 2002, Rome founded Rome's Joy Companies, which includes Peach's on 47th, Rome's Joy Catering, Parkway Ballroom, and Blanc Gallery. He takes pride in providing empowering jobs to folks who need them.

“There’s 22 people that have a job at Peach’s. That’s just not nothing. It’s a big deal.”

Chef Cliff Rome will be competing in WBEZ's 10th Annual Chicago Chef Battle.

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