Review by David Zivan
Chef Marcos Campos, of Beatnik in Chicago, IL, has crafted a menu bursting with a flavor and variety, just as unique as the decor that makes up this eccentric restaurant. Chef Marcos shares some of his favorite dishes with us and what visitor’s can expect to find when dining at Beatnik.
Q: With a menu that offers such artfully crafted options, which dish do you recommend as a must-try for diners visiting Beatnik?
A: The Beet Hummus, the Butternut Squash, the Whole Fish and the Lamb really harness our vision of cuisine at Beatnik. The overall balance of the dishes, as well as the contrast in global influence can be seen in these dishes.
Q: For the longest time, healthy eating was thought of as boring and bland, with having no real taste or substance. At Beatnik, I notice your dishes use a lot of unique ingredients. Is there a favorite you enjoy working with?
Chef Marcos: We feel that the access to local farms has really helped us shape our menu. Being able to utilize the freshest, farm grown vegetables and meats really allow the products and flavors to speak for themselves.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career as a chef?
Chef Marcos: The way food and cooking brought my family together really helped me see my vision in food, starting with working with my father in the town butcher shop, in Valencia, Spain, to spending time with my mother and grandmother in the kitchen, over the stove. Ultimately food was what brought us all together.
Q: How does Beatnik offer a dining experience for its guests unlike other restaurant establishments?
Chef Marcos: We really look to bringing an International Dinner Party to you. The atmosphere is unlike any other seen in Chicago. From the ambiance, to the cocktails, to the food… they all come together to give you an overall global adventure of the senses.
Q: For our readers who may be new to healthy cooking, where do you suggest they start as far as ingredients to always keep stocked at home?
Chef Marcos: As far as healthy options, it really depends on how adventurous the consumer is. Substituting a touch of Fish Sauce or Tamari (gluten free soy sauce) can be an alternative for salt, while adding essential vitamins to your diet. Utilizing Labneh Cheese (cheese made from straining yogurt) in place of Cream Cheese can help jump start the stomach enzymes, aiding in better digestion. As far as spices, venturing through those commonly used in Mediterranean kitchens such as; Cumin, Za’tar, Sumac, Baharat and Cardamom, not only add delicious flavors to food, but also offer a variety of health benefits.