Thad Morrow is best known locally as the chef and owner of bacaro, Champaign’s most acclaimed fine dining establishment. He is also one of the Central Illinois home cooks and local chefs who prepare foods families love on Come and Get It! Your Family Dinner Favorites, which will air at 7 p.m. Monday, March 4, on WILL-TV. Thad is a creative chef and restaurateur with a deep understanding of gastronomy and wine fundamentals. He received extensive training through a formal education at the Culinary Institute of America, an invaluable internship with Mario Batali, and an intensive study of wine in Los Angeles, California, Siena, Italy, and Urbana, Illinois. Thad is proficient in Italian cuisine and wine pairings and strives to deliver superb wine, engaging dishes, and an atmosphere that invites the community to learn about great food. Thad, who is dad to 4-year-old son Gus, opened bacaro restaurant in 2001.
Don’t forget to tune to Monday’s show, when Morrow will share more tips on choosing and using locally sourced ingredients, pairing beverages with foods and involving family members in preparing meals. (And the show is hosted by one of our favorite Chambana Moms to Know, Lisa Bralts.)
See why we think Thad Morrow is a Chambana Dad to Know.
Q: How did you discover your love for cooking and how did you know you wanted to become a chef?
Growing up I was never into sports so I found myself cooking with my grandmothers and mom. I enjoyed the process of making a dishes that made people happy.
Q: Is this show the beginning to your career as a celebrity television chef — and which TV chefs do you watch, if any?
If I can get more kids and parents involved in cooking together then I hope so. Since I worked for Mario Batali years ago and we are still friends I tend to watch him on TV when I can.
Q: Tell us about the dish you feature on the show, and why it is one of your family’s favorites.
Chicken Thighs braised in balsamic vinegar — it is a great dish because it can be made in one pot with simple ingredients. Plus it is healthy and has just enough sweetness from the balsamic that kids like it.
Q: Do you have any tips on how to get kids involved in the kitchen? Does your son cook with you?
Gus and I cook together just about every Tuesday night. We listen to music he likes and I let him mix and add seasoning to the dishes. It helps if you get them involved in the activity. ie making pizza dough and watching it rise then letting him /her punch it down and roll it out with their hands.
Q: I read in an interview on Smile Politely where you said that you wanted your kid to be proud of you. Why is that so important to you?
I want Gus to see that no matter how small or big the task you should do it with care and pride. My father taught me to pay attention to the details and I hope to pass that on to my son.
Q: Champaign-Urbana loves to go out to eat, and your restaurant is one of its best – if not the best. When you go out to eat, where do you go?
I love the food and the adventure of eating at Golden Harbor. The flavors, textures and different cooking techniques fascinate me.
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