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Chefs Stephen Gillanders and Reif Othman
Photograph: Time Out Market

Chef Stephen Gillanders is taking Valhalla overseas with Chefs on Tour

Chicagoans can try dishes from the new international dinner series at Time Out Market Chicago.

Jeffy Mai
Written by
Jeffy Mai

One of Chicago’s biggest chefs is taking his show overseas—but you can still get a taste of his cooking right here in the city at Time Out Market Chicago.

Stephen Gillanders, the chef behind the Market’s first full-service fine dining concept Valhalla, is heading abroad to take part in the inaugural Chefs on Tour series. He’ll first visit Lisbon (March 16) to work with Time Out Market Lisbon chef Susana Felicidade before traveling to Time Out Market Dubai (March 19) to collaborate with chef Reif Othman. During each stop, the chefs will come together to serve a unique one-off dinner at the local Market.

“I can’t wait to take the [Valhalla] experience to the other Markets for one night in each city. I share the Market’s approach of never saying that we can’t do something because we’re in a food hall; on the contrary—we’re going to say we should do this because we’re in a food hall. I’m excited to be part of it all and to collaborate with two outstanding Time Out Market chefs in two amazing foodie cities,” Gillanders said.

The menus will showcase courses from each chef, with Gillanders recreating a variety of his signature dishes so that guests can enjoy an authentic Valhalla experience.

“We want to make sure we’re representative of the restaurant,” Gillanders said, adding “I think that’d be a really nice connection piece for people to see that we’re really providing the experience we try to do in Chicago. So we want to make sure that we’re putting forth a reflection of the actual dishes that we prepare here.”

Some of the courses that will be featured include shaved raw hirame with green apple, pine nuts and nam pla sauce; and grilled maitake mushrooms with finger chili vinegar, chevre and charred avocado. Though Gillanders and his team plan to bring sauces and condiments with them on the trip, he’ll make a few adjustments to the composition of the dishes in order to highlight the freshest local ingredients. That means using a seasonal fish instead of fluke in Portugal, as well as substituting aged Portuguese heritage beef for wagyu. 

“I wanted to make sure that the dishes we were going to be doing are adaptive and make sense in other environments; that we’re using really great products that might not be the exact same thing, but are very similar. It is going to be like a nice kind of ability to meld with the city we’re cooking in and the chefs we’re going to be partnering with,” Gillanders said.

Fortunately, Chicagoans don’t have to travel across the globe to try these favorites. Most of the offerings are available on Valhalla’s tasting or a la carte menu. And Gillanders’ dessert for the tour—black truffle and maple panna cotta with roasted white chocolate, honeycomb and sunflower seeds—is also a special off-menu item at the restaurant.

While he’ll have his hands full with work, Gillanders is excited to explore Lisbon and Dubai. He’s hoping to as much as he can and learn from the experiences.

“I’m an eater more than a cooker, for sure. But whenever I have the ability to be inspired firsthand, that’s always fun, and what I look forward to the most.”

Valhalla is open Wednesday-Sunday, 5pm-10pm. Reservations are available on Tock.

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