People of Southport: Tanner

People of Southport: Tanner

Tanner, our Chef de Cuisine, is at the helm of the Southport ship, making sure everything runs smoothly in the kitchen. His easy going manner and kitchen skills keep us on track. Wondering which one he is? Look for the tallest guy in the kitchen!

Cooking was an important part of his life growing up, with his family always making an effort to sit down and eat dinner together each night. His Dad is obsessed with cookbooks and it rubbed off on Tanner enough to prompt his interest in culinary school. To him, cooking is fascinating since it fulfills a human’s basic need to eat but it’s also a field where you can never stop bettering yourself, since there is always more to learn. It’s a tough job, being on your feet all day, but Tanner thinks it’s all worth it when someone tells him how much they enjoyed their meal.

Before he worked here, Tanner was a pretty regular customer. He always liked the from-scratch focus of our food and was impressed by the range of our preservation program. He really appreciates the level of organization at Southport and all the streamlined processes that help him do his job better. Ordering food can be one of the trickiest parts of this business since it’s impossible to predict supply and demand, but somehow he manages to get it right and reduce food waste in the process.

If you’ve ever been to our Secret Supper, you’ll have seen the kind of creativity that Tanner whips up. Our monthly dinners are the perfect opportunity for him to experiment in the kitchen and he certainly doesn’t hold back. So much thought goes into each dish, trying out new ingredients and flavors until it’s perfect. One of his favorite Secret Supper meals ever was a braised lamb and pasta dish that he surprised even himself with, with how well it came out. For him, having an idea, working hard on it and then having it come together so well is one of the most rewarding parts of being a chef.

Tanner is a big music fan, playing guitar and bass and even dabbling in drums. He also has a degree in music production. When he’s not at work, you’ll find him in the gym, listening to music or checking out all the great bars and restaurants that Chicago has to offer. Some favorites are Andy’s Thai Kitchen, Girl & the Goat and Au Cheval. At home, he loves to make anything Asian inspired or tacos since they’re a great way to feed a lot of people. His love of food has even gone as far as getting food tattoos: see if you can spot cheese or a shark eating a hotdog among his many tats! Ask him what he wants for his birthday, and he might tell you a meat grinder! Or never ending sushi –  he can’t get enough of it.

Tanner landed this position in a pretty old school manner, since he literally saw an ad in our window and came inside right away to apply. We’re definitely glad he was walking past that day! 🙂


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