Chef de Cuisine Peter Coenen oversees the daily kitchen operations and menu development for The Gage, a beloved downtown Chicago restaurant featuring rustic European and American fare for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. With a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University, Coenen previously served as a sous chef at The Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas, USVI (a AAA Five Diamond resort) and as sous chef at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Blufton, South Carolina (a Forbes Five Star property). Just prior to joining The Gage, he worked as a junior sous chef at Chicago’s Michelin-starred BOKA restaurant.
Coenen grew up on the campus of Berkshire School, a private boarding school in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, where both of his parents were teachers. There, the majority of his meals consisted of cafeteria-style food, yet he would look forward to every Saturday night when his father prepared steak on the grill, which he served with boiled potatoes and endive. This weekly ritual ignited Coenen’s love for food and motivated him to explore a career in the culinary arts. He began cooking, and never looked back.
Trained in classic French cooking at Pot Au Feu in Providence, Rhode Island, Coenen thrived under the foundational direction of Executive Chef and mentor John Richardson. While working under Executive Chef Kirk Gilbert at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Coenen gained respect for a farm-to-table philosophy while preparing Southern cuisine with modern techniques and plating. Coenen’s culinary style today truly reflects his life story – which is punctuated with New England roots, classic French training and a dash of Southern influence. Prior to relocating to Chicago, he also traveled through France, Germany, Italy, England and Spain, which opened him up to the spectrum of European cuisine. These rich, cumulative experiences inspire Coenen’s menus daily at The Gage.