As the corporate executive chef of Eddie Merlot’s restaurants, Anthony Dee works on developing menu items and overseeing a staff that serves nine restaurants across six states. “My primary goal is to empower our talented team of chefs at the restaurant level and support our commitment to fresh ingredients of the highest quality.” Dee shares this collaborative spirit with Company President Bill Humphries, who helps foster a team-focused style of management. “Mr. Humphries has given me the freedom to dive the culinary vision of the menu, but together as a group, our combined ideas create the superior dining experience that our guests have come to expect.”
Eddie Merlot’s menu reflects Dee’s eagerness to constantly innovate. Inspired by the ever-evolving culinary world, Dee and his culinary team do research and development year-round with weekly tastings, brainstorming sessions, and other collaborative efforts to create new and exciting dishes. “Even with a multi-unit establishment, we can still adopt what’s new in the market and focus on efforts that are important to our culinary team,” explains Dee. “Our energy goes towards initiatives we’re passionate about like sourcing sustainable fish and local produce, some which comes from our on?site restaurant gardens.”
Raised in Ohio, Dee began his culinary career at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, SC, before heading south to serve as executive chef at Prelude and The Restaurant by Barton G in Miami. During this time, the establishment received an AAA Four Diamond Award, as well as various other media accolades. He also had a hand in the development and opening of another Barton G restaurant, The Villa (formerly the Versace Mansion) in South Beach, FL. Chef Tony then traveled further south to the British Virgin Islands to serve as a Food & Beverage Director for a private company in charge of managing restaurants, retail locations, and a small private island resort. His passion for sustainable ingredients led him to establish a program with the Tortola Department of Agriculture that integrated local products sourced from island farmers into existing restaurant venues. Dee then returned to the States to after meeting Eddie Merlot’s Director of
Operations, Bruce Kraus at a charity event. The chance account led Dee to continue on his culinary path with the premier steakhouse brand.He and his wife, Kacey, currently reside in Wheeling, IL where they enjoy spending time at home and reading. When he is not on the move at Eddie Merlot’s kitchens throughout the country or drafting new menu ideas in the corporate kitchen, Dee loves to explore Chicago’s restaurant scene and travel to new destinations with his wife.