Marianne Sundquist & Remy Ayesh
The snack savants
Marianne Sundquist, 29
Chef de cuisine, In Fine Spirits
Remy Ayesh, 27
Executive chef, Rootstock
It’s easy to get drunk at Rootstock and In Fine Spirits. For one thing, Rootstock serves top-notch beer and wine, and In Fine Spirits’ sister liquor store is one of the city’s best. But, more important, Ayesh and Sundquist have put as much thought into creating quality drinking food as any fine-dining chef. “Cooking at a bar like In Fine Spirits, there are very few boundaries, so long as it’s beer- or wine–friendly,” Sundquist says. “And my approach to do that is to get back to the basics, simplifying classic food by eliminating a lot of the fuss.” Echoing that sentiment, Ayesh credits tiny wine bars across Spain as her inspiration, “the kind of places where you stand around, have a few great bites of this or that, and move on,” she says. “I’ve been to a lot of wine bars in America that are too complicated, so I really wanted to keep things…approachable and accessible.” Both do just that, while also creating menus that make it impossible not to take another sip. Try not killing that beer while snacking on Ayesh’s bacon toffee and cumin-spiced nuts. And see how long your glass of wine lasts once you taste Sundquist’s duck confit rillettes. Another round, please. Rootstock, 954 N California Ave, 773-292-1616; In Fine Spirits, 5420 N Clark St, 773-334-9463.