It’s not a typical morning that Brian is home to make breakfast for his wife and their 4-year-old daughter, Kennedy and 1-year-old son, Conner. But when he is around, a breakfast that ordinarily consists of Cheerios and milk is effortlessly elevated to crab cake eggs benedict and fresh squeezed orange juice. “It’s a treat for us to share a meal with him,” says Brian’s wife Kelly, a Special Education Teacher. An average day for Chef Wright begins at about 6:30 a.m. and can last until the final dishwasher cleans his station and closes the door in one of eleven restaurants Chef Wright oversees. As Rosebud Restaurant’s Corporate Chef, Brian has the responsibility of maintaining the culinary and quality control of six restaurants in the city, with a new venue set to open this summer; an additional three suburban restaurants, and Rosebud’s commissary kitchen which produces all the Italian sauces and house made pastas Rosebud has become famous for throughout Chicago. Despite his ability to keep several balls in the air, Brian remains humble, sharing the credit with the talented chefs at each Rosebud restaurant location. “I am blessed to have such a wonderful support team. My goal is to aid each chef and in turn they will help Rosebud shine,” says Wright.
Chef Wright is often described by his co-workers as an organized, dedicated, and assertive leader; qualities that no doubt helped him land the job of Carmine’s Executive Chef at the tender age of 23. Brian proved himself by running the kitchen at Carmine’s for five successful years before being promoted to Corporate Chef of Rosebud Restaurants. Carmine’s remains one of Rosebud’s most popular restaurants, serving as many as 800 guests on an average Saturday night.
Chef Wright received formal training at Washburne Culinary Institute where he earned the coveted Escoffier Award for Excellence, an honor recognizing the top culinary student who best exemplifies the spirit of the gastronomic master and demonstrates a strong enthusiasm for teamwork. Brian’s passion for cooking stemmed from his relationship with his grandmother, whom ran a bakery out of her home and taught him to cook at the age of five. His passion for cooking matured as he finished high school and made the decision to enroll in culinary school. “When I graduated from high school in 1992, aspiring to be a chef was not a well-perceived career choice. My high school guidance counselor all but laughed at me, saying there were far better options than a career as a cook,” Brian says with a smile. Ironically, the same man is now one of Chef Wright’s biggest fans, attending most of his cooking classes and frequenting several Rosebud Restaurants.
Brian’s latest challenge at Rosebud is opening two new restaurants in the span of three months. “My greatest challenge when writing a menu for a new restaurant is to maintain the level of excellence that customers have come to expect at any Rosebud location. “I do my research, finding the highest quality products to create each recipe. I meet with vendors daily to sample new olive oils, fresh cheeses, and breads. It’s actually a lot of fun.” says Chef Wright.
“My wife is always telling me to take my mind off food when I’m not at work. The thing is, I love what I do,” says Brian. “When I’m not working, I enjoy reading Food Arts or testing restaurant competitors. I probably eat at a new restaurant two or three times a week. It’s great research and allows me to see how I can improve or incorporate ideas that have proven successful in other restaurants. “I’m living my dream” says Brian. “Most times when you ask a chef about their ultimate goal, they will tell you it’s to open their own restaurant. I’m fortunate that Alex Dana (owner, Rosebud Restaurants) has given me the freedom to treat his restaurants as if they are my own,” says Brian.