Since her childhood cooking with her grandparents on their ranch in Victoria, Texas, Houston born-and-raised Sarah Grueneberg knew she was destined to work in the culinary world. After graduating from culinary school in 2001, she started her first career-changing job at the iconic Brennan’s of Houston and by 2003 was named the restaurant’s youngest female sous chef.
Grueneberg moved to Chicago in 2005 to join the team at the award-winning Spiaggia under the leadership of Tony Mantuano. Beginning as a line cook, she quickly rose through the ranks to Chef di Cucina in 2008 and then Executive Chef in 2010.
Grueneberg opened Monteverde in November 2015, and in 2017, she received the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” and was a semifinalist for “Outstanding Chef” in the 2019 & 2020 awards.
Monteverde has earned acclaimed reviews from various outlets, including a three-star review from The Chicago Tribune. In 2016, Monteverde was named one of Food & Wine’s “America’s Best Restaurants,” a top 50 finalist in Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants,” Eater’s “21 Best New Restaurants in America,” GQ’s “12 Best New Restaurants,” Eater Chicago’s “Restaurant of the Year,” and more.
Grueneberg has been a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef: Texas and Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet and was featured in the Chicago episode of “Somebody Feed Phil.” In fall 2022, Grueneberg published her first cookbook, Listen To Your Vegetables.
The technique for the zucchini or summer squash in this salad came to me by accident. I tasted an incredible chilled summer squash salad at Death & Taxes, my friend Ashley Christensen’s Raleigh, North Carolina, restaurant. I was blown away by the texture of the squash—it was raw, crispy, and crunchy but still pliable! Usually, if you slice and dress squash, it’s like a sponge that absorbs everything, then it breaks apart and crumbles. But, by first salting the slices, you end up with soft but strong ribbons that stay crisp and don’t break. Once you’ve got this technique in your mix, you can use it as a template to make all kinds of salads, slaws and relishes with squash.View This Recipe
Photo by: Stephen Hamilton