The City’s Greenest Restaurant, Uncommon Ground, Introduces its New Executive Chef, Matthew Holmes

June 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

After an exhaustive search, Uncommon Ground has announced that Matthew Holmes is its new executive chef. The introduction of Holmes as chef, who hails most recently from L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona, emphasizes the desire of its owners, Helen and Michael Cameron, to refocus the restaurant on its food.

In the past few years, the Camerons have put a lot of time, effort and money into greening their restaurant. In 2011, Uncommon Ground was named the “Greenest Restaurant in America” by the Green Restaurant Association. The rooftop features Chicago’s first certified organic rooftop farm that supplies the restaurant with produce year-round, solar panels, and beehives. The restaurant has a dedicated farmer, Dave Snyder, and even composts its scraps.

But installing Holmes in their top culinary spot signals the Camerons’ intention to compete with other notable farm-to-table destinations. Holmes, who has worked at several places on the West Coast including the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, will focus on vegetarian and vegan dishes in addition to keeping popular meat dishes on the menu. Holmes said, “Extraordinary food is all about the juxtaposition of combining the subtle with flavors, and our new menu showcases this fact.”

At an event introducing Holmes last week, Holmes’ food exhibited a fair amount of technique, as porcini “soil” flavored a plate of unadulterated crudités (pictured below), which was a playful take on vegetable and earth. An elegant cube of pork belly presented on a spoon was attractively crisped on the outside. Cocktails featured local spirits and infused seasonal produce.

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Uncommon Ground is located at 1401 W. Devon, in Chicago.

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Uncommon Ground co-owner, Helen Cameron (L), Executive Chef Matthew Holmes (C), co-owner Michael Cameron (R), on their rooftop farm