Could Libertyville Chef Be Chicago's Next Big Name?

Paul Caravelli

The name 545 North Bar & Grill is kind of generic, and it's hard to find reviews (other than at Yelp) for the Libertyville bar and grill, which styles itself an "upscale American bistro." It's the kind of place that every suburb has but that doesn't leap out from the crowd of such places... until suddenly its chef is on TV. Paul Caravelli made it past the crowd on ABC's new Top Chef wannabe The Taste to become one of the 16 initial contestants. The burly 31-year-old won praise from Ludo Lefebvre for his signature crab cake and his boisterous personality, and will serve on Lefebvre's team in upcoming competitions. Caravelli tells Crain's, “I think I have that loose, fun-loving, energetic chef attitude that they were looking for... They didn't want anyone who would be boring.” It remains to be seen if The Taste will be a hit week after week, and if that will translate into name status for the chefs on it— only Top Chef has really succeeded at making culinary stars so far. But at the very least, it's a tip-off that there are some first-rate crab cakes going for a mere $11 up north. [Crain's]