Like a lot of successful executives, Wayne Cohen was looking for a change of pace and a new beginning for a career that started feeling flat. He had already made money in the software industry, and was, for a short time, the head of Chicago’s iconic Maurice Lenell Cookies. But his passion for the kitchen continued to tug at him, and so, despite having no formal training, his life changed forever when he answered an ad in Craigslist for a line cook. From stints at a Lincoln Park German restaurant, to brief stages at Graham Elliot and onesixty blue, Cohen worked his way up, gaining new skills along the way, but never complaining about the hours or the pay ($9 an hour).
I spoke with Cohen yesterday at Piccolo Sogno - where he’s spent the past year as a line cook, and continues to work on special events for the restaurant.