Chef Cizma began his culinary career in his hometown of Chicago. The grandson of a butcher, he found his place in the kitchen at an early age, beginning work in restaurants at age 13. After attending the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, he worked in noted Chicago restaurants such as Charlie Trotters, The Winnetka Grill, Daniel J’s and Zealous. In 1995 he took his first executive chef position The Outpost, where he built a loyal following…and in 1999 he opened Grace Restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood to immediate fanfare. Grace earned “Three Stars” from both Chicago daily newspapers, “Best New Restaurant” from Chicago Magazine and was featured in the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, GQ and many other publications. In 2001, Chef Cizma opened Elaine restaurant in Naperville, Illinois, as a suburban sister restaurant to Grace (Elaine & Grace are the names of his two oldest daughters). Elaine received a similar welcome and garnered many of the same awards. When not in the kitchen, Chef Cizma is an avid cyclist and has competed in marathon and triathlon events. He loves spending time engaging in outdoor activities with his wife and five children.


I am a happy husband and proud father of 5 awesome kids. They adore their “food tattoed” father, especially when I bring home cookies.

My life is my work. I love to teach and inspire other cooks. I enjoy getting the opportunity to get my hands on these budding Culinarians, in fact I think that it should be a mandatory part of the curriculum. I could teach a class entitled “The culinary field is not what you see on the Food Network, 101. Culinary education is the fastest growing segment of secondary education in the United States. Amazingly, thousands of young men and women enroll in absurdly expensive culinary programs at various colleges and institutions around the country without ever having set foot in a kitchen. My advice Work i the Industry before you step in the classroom. Forget about weekends, evenings and holidays off and understand ahead of time that you are NOT a Chef because you went to Culinary classes.

Would you get up one day and decide to be a plumber because you saw one on TV and thought it looked cool? (No offense to Joe the Plumber) The problem is that Television and the media have created this romanticized idea of what goes on in a kitchen. Working in a kitchen is hard. Long, long days and nights on your feet. Hot, loud, high stress, screaming chefs, complaining servers, demanding guests. It’s not for everybody. I believe that certain people are just meant to be cooks, born to it if you will. I guess it’s true what my father told me, “Find something you love to do and it will never seem like work.”

A Healthy Lifestyle

Marathon training and long bike rides have become a part of my life. The gym is always great, but the beauty of Arizona and the surrounding Red Rocks has drawn me outside all year long.

Fun with the kids

It is hard not to be involved in Cub Scouts, sports and activities with the kids. I live my life as a role model to them.  My son, at age ten, joins me in the gym lifting weights.



What you know does not matter – what you do matters. Physical training produces physical memories – not simply muscle memory but a psychophysical imprint, knowledge that is instinctual rather than intellectual. This is useful knowledge. However, before you can forget and allow the unconscious to take over you need to learn it by heart and learn it well enough to write it in blood There is no shortcut to strength development, as there is none for the development of skill, agility or endurance in an athlete. No amount of fancy gimmicks or equipment or adoption of alleged time-saving ‘fads’ will substitute for a long term program of hard work, that is required to develop the quality of strength needed by an athlete for optimum performance in his specialty.

Rory Gallagher

Gallagher was always associated with his well-worn sunburst 1961 Stratocaster (Serial Number 64351), which his brother Donal has officially retired. It was reputedly the first in Ireland, and was ordered from Fender by Jim Connolly, a showband member performing with The Irish Showband. Connolly ordered a cherry red Stratocaster through a music shop in Cork. When Fender shipped a sunburst Stratocaster instead, it went on sale as a second-hand instrument, which Gallagher bought for just shy of £100 at Crowley’s Music Store on Cork’s McCurtain Street. The guitar was extensively modified by Gallagher. The tuning pegs, for a start, are odd (5 Sperzel pegs and one Gotoh), and all of these have been found to be replacements. Secondly, it is thought[citation needed] that the nut has been replaced and interchanged a number of times. Thirdly, the scratchplate was changed during Gallagher’s time with Taste. Another change was made regarding the pickups, of which none are original. The final modification was that of the wiring: Gallagher disconnected the bottom tone pot and rewired it so he had just a master tone control along with the master volume control. He also installed a 5-way selector switch in place of the vintage 3-way one. The most notable effect that years of touring have had is the almost complete removal of the guitar’s original sunburst finish, partly through being left out in the rain in a ditch for days after being stolen.