Dining

Chef Obsession: Gumbo

Frontier's Brian Jupiter rules the roux

"I make my gumbo the way my grandma did," says Brian Jupiter, executive chef at Noble Square's Frontier.

The scent of the classic New Orleans stew would hit young Jupiter's nose as soon as he walked through his grandmother's door during holidays in the Big Easy.

Jupiter has brought his love of the stuff north, serving gumbo ya ya (ya ya means "everything" in Cajun) at Frontier. His recipe only takes one liberty from his grandma's: He adds rabbit to the roux-based stew, along with the more traditional Andouille, shrimp and oysters.

However, there are two components of her recipe that he wouldn't dare change: The first is okra, cooked down to dissolve its sliminess.

The other is harder to track down in these parts--filé, or brown sassafras, which thickens and adds the heat to the gumbo. "Most people up here think that the heat comes from hot sauce," Jupiter says, "but it's the filé that makes 'em sweat."

Frontier's gumbo ($12) will return to the menu full time on December 1. Until it does, try it every Sunday during and after New Orleans Saints games (with a shrimp po' boy special, naturally).

On November 17 Jupiter will host the first annual gumbo cook-off at Frontier, pitting chefs (himself included) against amateurs.

He may be far from New Orleans, but Jupiter is still bringing the heat.

Frontier 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago IL 60642 773-772-4322

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