Meet the chef
From humble Midwestern beginnings, to the center of the civilized world in New York City, Chef Thad Morrow has spent his entire career finding unique ways to let both food and wine dictate his story. His youth was centered around time spent on his grandmother’s farm. Before the pasture, a great garden stretched deep into the horizon, where fresh produce grew and was harvested with meticulous care. From the fields, and into her outdoor kitchen, she taught him simple techniques on cooking: how to properly fry chicken, when to cut asparagus at its peak sweetness, why saving bacon fat for potatoes at supper made the meal, the proper way to whisk an egg.
These experiences led to higher education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Upon graduation, he promptly moved to NYC, and learned under some of the best chefs the city had to offer. His love for wine grew alongside his passion for cooking, and Chef Morrow became a certified sommelier in 1998.
For over twenty years, his passion for the kitchen has been on display.
His first restaurant, bacaro, in Downtown Champaign, revolutionized dining in Central Illinois forever. His work eventually took him back to New York City in 2015, where he spent a few years as an expert in wine pairing for Blue Apron. But his passion for using his hands and creative ideas in the kitchen were calling once again.
The opportunity to develop NAYA is latest in his creative endeavors. The menu is both playful and traditional. With a pragmatic approach to simple preparation, and an eye for detail in creating deep and complex flavors, this is Chef Morrow at his very best.