Adorn, the upscale restaurant inside the Four Seasons Hotel off the Magnificent Mile, has nabbed a new executive chef to replace Beard winner Jonathon Sawyer. Richie Farina, a 24-year-veteran of the hospitality industry, is leaving Curtis Duffy’s staff at two-Michelin-starred Ever to take over Adorn, perched on the hotel’s seventh floor.
Farina’s resume includes roles in some of Chicago’s most inventive and lauded establishments: executive chef of molecular gastronomy pioneer Moto Restaurant and lead line cook at Italian favorite Monteverde. He plans to make an impact at Adorn by unveiling a five-course tasting menu later this spring.
“I’m at a point in my career where an opportunity like this doesn’t come along a lot,” Farina says. “I know it’s going to be a challenge and part of me is really scared, but in a good way. I know I can live up to the challenge and I’ve put a lot of expectations on myself for what I want to accomplish.”
Farina says he will inject his own voice into the whimsical ethos of Adorn, the Four Seasons’ sole restaurant, but also aims to create a menu that appeals to hotel guests as well as Chicago’s fine-dining public. He hopes that his tasting menu (which will also include a handful of surprise bites) will bridge that gap and give diners a memorable experience — including elements of molecular gastronomy — without veering into gimmicks.
“I want to make serious food, but not take it too seriously,” he says. “There’s a fun way to be playful and do things that are purposeful with modern techniques and natural ingredients.”
Farina will start to preview some dishes around Valentine’s Day. He’s directing those hunting for an indication of his vision to posts on his Instagram account that show past creations such as Beans and Almonds, Duck and Leaves, and River Course.
Since 2010, Farina’s also appeared on numerous TV shows including season nine of Top Chef, Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and Planet Green’s Future Food. After two-and-a-half years of working under a superstar chef in Duffy at Ever, he’s eager to reintroduce himself to diners.
Adorn debuted in October 2020 under the leadership of Sawyer, who relocated to Chicago from Cleveland to replace the hotel’s eight-year-old restaurant Allium. The opening was marred by a COVID-19 resurgence that resulted in the city’s second ban on dine-in service, but by 2022, it earned a mention in the Michelin Guide for its airy atmosphere and specialties like an edible aged beef suet candle that, when lit, melts into a sauce for dipping. Sawyer left the hotel to open Kindling, a restaurant opening later this month inside Willis Tower.