Our Story: Eat great. Live full.

The inspiration for Great Full Plate has been years in the making – finally coming to life at just the right moment, when the world needs gratitude, good company, and great food more than ever. As we like to say, bellies, glasses, and hearts should always be full – especially now.

As a husband-and-wife team, our dream has been to find the sweet spot between our passions and to discover ways to share our joys with the world. Since the first moment we met, we’ve thought of ourselves as “two peas in a pod” – with a shared love of adventure, entertaining, and of course, food. Since no chef story would be complete without a full sleeve tattoo, Chris even has our little pea pod forever inked on his arm – and it looks just like us!

Chris is a professionally trained chef with 18 years of restaurant industry experience. He discovered a love of cooking while watching the Food Network after school with his grandma and attempting to recreate celebrity chef recipes, and as a Boy Scout, earning every cooking-related merit badge there was. Chris ultimately turned his after school hobby into a career, graduating at the top of his class in culinary school and spending several years as a seasonal chef, traveling the country and uprooting every six months to expand his skillset. Chris alternated posts and advanced in rank at high end beach and ski resorts, from Key Largo to Park City, Nantucket to Lake George, working in award-winning, Michelin-star kitchens, and eventually making his way to southern Vermont to join his longtime chef partner and friend in opening a modern American fine dining establishment and gastropub in the heart of a quaint New England ski town.

Ashley also grew up in the food industry, hostessing, waitressing, and bartending her way through school where she studied education – specifically, how to take learning beyond the classroom and design engaging, high-impact educational experiences. Ashley eventually found her way to southern New Hampshire to pursue her passion for experiential learning and a new professional challenge at Dartmouth College, while moonlighting as a tour guide at a local craft brewery. A few years later, Chris and Ashley each met the other half of their pea pod and started day-dreaming ways to make Great Full Plate a reality.

As a chef, Chris understands the power of food not only as nourishment for the body, but for the heart and soul as well. He thrives on stretching his culinary imagination in every direction, preparing playful plates that recall on memories from childhood and creating all new connections to traditional dishes. One of his favorite recipes is lobster tail corndogs served with papaya ketchup – taking a childhood memory of sharing a state fair staple with his granddad and bringing it back to life with imaginative elegance.

Great Full Plate is our way of bringing the restaurant experience to home kitchens, where friends and family can gather, enjoy a meal, celebrate a moment, and make a new memory – all while enjoying an unforgettable meal in great company. We make your kitchen feel like a five-star restaurant and work with you to develop a menu that matches the vision for your event. We provide everything from start to finish, including menu planning, grocery shopping, multi-course meal preparation, front-of-house service, a chef’s introduction to each course, and clean-up. We even bring our own table settings so you don’t have to worry about dishes. In a time when restaurants are closed, let us bring the restaurant experience to you and make dining in as special as dining out.

As we continue on this journey, we are so “great full” for the love and support of everyone cheering us on. We look forward to sharing what we learn along the way, so follow along as we test new recipes, discover local foodie finds, connect with other chefs, reflect on the rapidly changing restaurant industry, find ways to support our local community, and bring Great Full Plate to homes all over Chicagoland.

Cheers to full bellies, glasses, and hearts!

Reach out to chef@greatfullplate.org for more information on booking, pricing, and partnership opportunities.