Chef & Partner
A native Chicagoan, Bruce Sherman traveled the world developing his culinary knowledge before returning home to Chicago’s dining community. As Chef and Partner at Lincoln Park’s North Pond, Sherman utilizes influences accumulated in Paris, Southeast Asia and London to produce his contemporary French-American, innovative, seasonal cuisine.
Born and raised in Chicago, Sherman attended the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Economics. Having grown up the son of a banker, Sherman thought he would have an “office career” – he would become a banker, lawyer or doctor, perhaps. While studying abroad at the London School of Economics and experiencing all that is European, he had a life-altering realization, allowing Sherman to recognize that he could choose any career he pleased. Over the years, he had always enjoyed watching his Mom cook, as she comfortably experimented with new flavors and cuisines, and he decided to pursue a career in the restaurant field. Upon his return to the States, Sherman graduated and moved to Boston, where he began a career in restaurant management. Unable to satisfy his creative urge as a manager, he moved to the back of the house, working as a cook and absorbing all facets of kitchen life. He moved next to Washington, D.C., where he broadened his foodservice knowledge by starting a catering company, one he continued to run until selling the business in 1993. When Sherman’s wife had an opportunity to work in India, they jumped at the chance.
Over the following four years in New Delhi, India, Sherman immersed himself in the local culture, particularly the local cuisine. Making daily trips to the corner vegetable “wallah” (vendor) forced him to cook only with what was available each day, what was fresh and seasonal. The experience in India profoundly influenced his cooking, but not in the obvious manner – the notion of seasonality developed while living in India was as great an influence as the understanding of the flavors and usage of the diverse regional spices. While in India, Sherman consulted for regional palace hotels, teaching local Rajasthani cooks to prepare Western food for the visiting tourists. He also completed personal studies to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the indigenous spices and cookery, specifically of the Keralan Malabar Coast.
Sherman then moved to Paris and enrolled at the École Superieure de Cuisine Française to solidify his culinary knowledge. He completed the yearlong comprehensive program, supplementing his studies with jobs at a number of highly regarded restaurants. Sherman refined his already-advanced culinary skills, developing a personal style clearly grounded in French technique yet clearly corresponding to the season. The following year, he returned to Chicago, working under some of the top toques in town.
In 1999, Sherman accepted the position as Chef at North Pond and has been dazzling diners with his broadly influenced, subtle, seasonal cuisine ever since. Sherman was honored by Food & Wine as one of America’s “Best New Chefs” in 2003; then in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and again in 2011, he was nominated by the esteemed James Beard Foundation in the “Best Chef: Great Lakes Region” category, winning the award in 2012. In 2008, Share Our Strength named him “Most Sustainable Chef” at the Chicago Taste of the Nation event and later that year, he accepted the position as National Board Chair of Chefs Collaborative, a position he held for 4 years.