MRM Chef Spotlight: Untitled Supper Club Executive Chef Frank Mnuk
3 Min Read By MRM Staff
Untitled Supper Club recently debuted a new culinary team, as well as a new menu led by Executive Chef Frank Mnuk. His focus is to elevate Untitled’s food program by reinventing classic American dishes into creative and extraordinary experiences with approachable flavor to bring the classic American supper club scene into the 21stcentury with a modern and imaginative shared-plates menu.
Untitled’s contemporary American menu includes signature dishes such as:
- Chicken Fried Egg, comprised of lavender cured pork belly, crisp potato, mustard greens and 12yr balsamic
- Crispy Pork Ribs, featuring piquillo pepper caramel, Asian pear, cilantro and mint
- Charred Octopus, with black rice, avocado, radish, scallion and cilantro
- Grilled Beef and Broccoli, layered with fermented black bean relish, peanut, charred broccoli and chili fish sauce caramel
Mnuk’s started his culinary career under the guidance of Thomas Keller at French Laundry and Bouchon in Northern California. His experience includes positions such as sous chef at NoMi and L20 in Chicago, as well as demi chefat Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York City.
After time back in Chicago at Bistro Bordeaux and Cite, Mnuk relocated to Austin, where he opened and operated the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, serving as executive chef. Settling back into Chicago, Mnuk most recently led the kitchen at Radisson Blu Chicago as executive chef, before bringing his culinary talents to Untitled Supper Club.
Through his years of experience, Mnuk understands that cooking with honesty and authenticity are key, but he also challenges himself and staff to get as creative as possible when merging classic proteins and produce with unique ingredients.
Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine asked Mnuk about his career, Untitled’s menu and why he enjoys the connectedness of gardening and raising chickens.
Why did you choose a culinary career?
I didn’t. It chose me. I originally went to college for forensic science and hated it. Moved back home to Wisconsin and landed a job at a local artisan butcher shop. And then I was addicted to the industry from there on.
You have worked for and with some culinary masters–what are some lessons you have learned?
The let the ingredient shine, don’t over process or over think. I have also learned respect, respect of the craft, rest the employees who work for very little $ but put in a lot of effort for you. And the most important structure and foundation of how to run a kitchen.
You have worked in some of hottest and most diverse culinary destinations in the world. How do the compare?
Im grateful for that, I now have what I believe is my own style. I blame Austin TX for that. That city helped me look at everything differently. How the rules of what food should or should not go together is thrown out the window. I learned how to think “Hey lets make something thats just so damn delicious and not the same thing that people are used to”
What have you learned from your experiences that went into the menu you created for Untitled?
Working for Uchi in Austin TX has influenced me dramatically in Japanese flavors, You can see that influence in a few dishes on the menu. i.e pork ribs, beef and broccoli. Otherwise the remaining experience has helped me develop more pronounced flavors in majority of my food.
How would you describe your menu?
Contemporary American with global influence. We take the approach of what do people know and understand and open it up disc it and maybe flip it upside down to create a totally different take on it.
What does the term palatable art mean to you?
It means exactly that. Being a “chef” in my opinion is one of the last renaming crafts around. You are engineering food for people to purchase. And it really depends on how you look at it.
Why do you feel guests desire shared plates?
Its more approachable in my opinion, if guests are coming for an dining experience it gives them the best foundation to try everything.
What do you hope guests take away from their experience at Untitled?
That the food program is extensive now and has a large selection of all types of cuisines so it makes it more approachable. I really want them to try as much as we can
What are some dining trends you are seeing?
Im seeing more of the open fire, coal and wood fire cooking in restaurants.
How do your hobbies of gardening and raising chickens help you in your profession?
It helps me with the connection. It also keeps me grounded with whats important in life. I honestly have these passion outside of work to help my kids understand how food grows and how to maintain that.
What is some advice you would give to someone who would love to do what you do?
If you are really interested, before you invest or jump in. Work in the industry for a few months even for free and talk to as many people as you can. It is only for a certain type of person.