Chef William "Beau" Blackburn
Here's the deal. Food is weird. What we put in our bodies affects our physical, mental, and emotional health more than many of us realize. As a gluten-free chef offering personal chef and catering services tailored to dietary sensitivities, Chef Bill is raising awareness one meal at a time.
Raised on gourmet fare such as his mother’s herb-crusted salmon with demi-glaze, he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef. Yet it wasn’t until he went gluten-free that Chef Bill realized his interest in feeding people was more than a passion.
It was and is his life’s calling.
As a teenager, he cut his culinary chops at the Old Orchard Country Club and studied restaurant management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He was soon working professional kitchens throughout Chicagoland, including Chessie’s in Barrington, Olive Garden, Bennigan’s, and then Carlucci’s and Rosebud. During this time, he also earned a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University.
Chef Beau then took a hiatus from the restaurant world—17 years working in advertising and corporate media—but the culinary bug didn’t disappear. He and his sister, Kitty, talked about launching their own catering business. Her untimely death in 2008 fueled Chef Beau’s resolve to make that dream a reality.
He soon received his formal culinary education at Chicago’s Kendall College, where he trained under award-winning French chef Pierre Pollin and nutritionist Sara Haas. While in school then after graduation, Chef Beau also brought his skills to Chicago’s Blue Plate Catering, winner of a 2009 James Beard Award for "Best Caterer in America." He graduated in 2010 as a certified personal chef and caterer and opened Beau K Catering with his partner, Sheila. Their popular private dinner and corporate team-building Sushi making parties soon put the company on the Chicagoland map.
Then, everything changed.
In 2011 Chef Beau’s life took an unexpected turn that would forever redefine how he thought about food. When an immediate family member was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, he started researching dietary alternatives to medication, as well as sensitivities that could be causing problems. All signs pointed to gluten as a potential culprit. Found in all grain, it is the wheat, rye, and barley, where gluten is ever-present in the typical American diet that gives many people issues. The further Chef Beau delved, the more he realized just how deep this gluten-sensitivity might run: his family’s history of diabetes, the addictions that killed his sister, his own emotional and physical struggles.
Could it all come down to this one protein?
Chef Beau soon removed all gluten from his diet. Nearly overnight (or about 5 days), he experienced greater clarity of thought, emotional balance, and peace of mind. Plus, he lost over 30lbs. The results were transformative, empowering him to become the person he always knew he was and wanted to be—all simply by removing gluten from his diet.
As Harry Caray used to say, "Holy Cow!"
Today, Chef Beau is committed to spreading the word to anyone who will listen to discovering his or her true self through what you eat. Beau K offers comprehensive gluten-free (and dairy free) initiative programs for restaurateurs, families, and individuals as well as fresh, non-GMO meal delivery services but still caters small events (up to 80) and team-building Sushi-making events and will always keep what made him who he is today by catering intimate, private and/or corporate dinner parties in the comfort of your own home.
Curious what going gluten-free could do for you?
Chef Patrick Williams
After graduation, Patrick initially was the Assistant Sous Chef at South and then he was promoted to Sous Chef at the Speakeasy Supper Club. Chef Patrick then had an opportunity to help open a restaurant as Executive Chef de Cuisine at the Coho Café, near the shores of Lake Michigan in Frankfort, MI.
Before teaming up with Chef Beau of Beau K, Chef Patrick's other culinary accomplishments in his short culinary career are several stints as a private chef, several adult cooking classes, a hands-on workshop he developed and implemented on the history of Ancient Roman cuisine at the Skokie School, in Winnetka, IL, an event in which he assisted Chef Arun Sampanthavivat of Arun's Restaurant and 100 Thai exchange students during the Thai Skills Road Show in Chicago, IL and various other fundraising events including Chef Patrick’s role as Co-Chair for “Cooking Up Change” working with The Chicago Public Schools, its students and teachers for a 2nd year.
In addition to his work as Co-Chair, Chef Patrick keeps several "pots boiling" with his Claussen/Williams company for catering ventures, his Comfort Cuisine company for solo catering ventures, his Grampa Boos BBQ and Basting Sauce family company, his work as Food Service Manager at O.S.R.U.I. and his work as a private chef for an area family.
Are you listening? Good.
Sheila initially came to Beau K as a silent partner. But silence isn’t really her thing. As head of business operations, she’s committed to helping people fuel their bodies and minds in the healthiest way possible.
Though she’s no culinary mastermind — she leaves that to Chef Beau — Sheila grew up cooking and baking with her father. Homemade caramel pecan rolls were a family tradition. Later on, Sheila perfected her own fudge recipe and would give away boxes of the sweet treat every year as a holiday gift.
But that ended when Sheila started to listen to her body.
For years, she had felt like something was off. For the most part, she had it pretty good—great job, nice home, supportive relationship—but something just wasn’t right. Her moods would shift suddenly. Small things would upset her for no reason. She had trouble completing things. Was it depression? Anxiety? She didn’t know.
When Chef Beau started researching dietary sensitivities in October 2011, Sheila joined his gluten-free detox. While he had dramatic results—his thoughts were clearer, his presence of mind greater—Sheila didn’t. She felt a little better, but her change was nothing like Chef Beau’s transformation.
What was going on?
Chef Beau suspected something else in Sheila’s diet might be to blame. As he investigated sensitivities, he had discovered that many people who react poorly to gluten also have dairy issues. And what was Sheila’s favorite drink? Yep. Milk.
Skeptical, Sheila ignored his theory. She’d loved all things dairy since childhood and wasn’t about to give them up. It wasn’t until the following summer when her personal and professional life fell into a downward spiral that Sheila finally took the drastic step to quit dairy. As things crumbled around her, she was ready to try anything.
She went cold turkey. Almost immediately, the clouds began to lift. She felt calmer and more balanced. Her anxiety subsided. She stopped losing her temper over little things.
The emotional rollercoaster came to a halt.
Floored by the results, Sheila permanently swore off dairy. Given the choice between all things dairy and the serenity she feels living without them, there’s no contest. Peace of mind always wins.
Today, Sheila has a new hunger: providing people delicious food through Beau K and teaching them how it influences the body, mind, and spirit. For as Voltaire once said, "Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."
The Latest Review
Hi, and thanks for your email... you did a splendid job and were wonderful to have around. The food was really spectacular! Everyone had his or her favorites, mine was everything... but especially the pumpkin mousse... really, it was perfect evening for all of us... one of our best ever! I appreciated your calm, and your server Grace's calmness too, in the midst of the storm... I will keep your name close at hand and I hope you get some business from our party. I do not have anything planned for the near future, and we do travel a lot which takes us out of town for weeks at a time, but if something comes up... you will hear from me!!!
Many thanks to you and Grace,
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