Executive Chef Randy Zweiban, who first brought Nuevo Latino cooking to Chicago with Nacional 27, has crafted a dynamic menu that is grounded in American cuisine and influenced by Central and South American and Spanish dishes.
Born in Queens, New York, Zweiban learned the restaurant world from a customer’s perspective. Working as a diamond-setter, pursuing a dream of being a drummer in a rock band, Zweiban explored New York’s tremendous restaurant scene with the passion and curiosity of a true gourmand. As he tasted through the cuisines of the world, available as only in Manhattan, he soon realized his passion was in the culinary field.
Zweiban enrolled in Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now called The Institute of Culinary Education) in the mid-1980s. After graduating, he opened a boutique catering business in Manhattan, creating food for exclusive gallery openings, private parties and other prominent events.
In 1989, Zweiban headed south to Miami, where he could open a catering company with a similar clientele in a warmer clime. He then went to work with celebrated chef Norman Van Aken, first at a mano and then at Norman’s, where he was Chef de Cuisine and partner. Over the seven and a half-year period that the two collaborated, Zweiban immersed himself in the vibrant culture and cooking of Miami’s Latino community, while continuing to work with Van Aken’s New World Cuisine. He also, during this period, took a one-year hiatus from Miami to work as Executive Chef at The Gate, a popular Los Angeles supper club.
In the summer of 1998, Richard Melman and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) brought Zweiban to Chicago to unveil the city’s first Nuevo Latino concept. At the helm of Nacional 27, Zweiban received numerous accolades, including being named ” One of the Best New Restaurants” by Chicago magazine which Chicago magazine also recognized Province for.
Province was given a three out of four star review by the Chicago Tribune. Zweiban has been featured in Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Newsweek, Food Arts, USA Today, Metropolitan Home and Esquire, among other publications.