John Chiakulas was a caring and wonderful husband, father, son, brother and true friend to so many. John left us unexpectedly, and far too soon, on February 24, 2021 at the age of 57. John's infectious smile, ever-positive attitude, sincerity, warmth and genuine decency will never be forgotten. We celebrate John's goodness, and his memory will be eternal.
John is survived by his beloved wife Despina, adoring children Christian, Nicolas, Dimitrios, and Angelo, grandchild Kairi, mother Alea Kimmel, and siblings Gregory, Charles, Robert (Stephens), and Stacey (Chronis).
John loved spending time with his family, watching and talking sports (the Bears and Cubs), fishing and other outdoor activities. John loved to entertain and was always a warm, welcoming, and fun host.
John was also passionate about his work as Corporate Chef of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and a Chef Partner of Aba, Antico Posto, Beatrix, Beatrix Market, ?ma, Rotisserie Ema, Foodease Market, L. Woods and The Dalcy.
His long 40-year journey with Lettuce began at Ambria in 1981 where he rose through the ranks from fish butcher to becoming Executive Chef of Scoozi! when it opened a decade later. His experiences traveling through Italy awakened his imagination and enthusiasm for Italian cooking. These skills translated well to his extensive experience at more than three dozen Lettuce restaurants.
John's place in Lettuce's history cannot be understated, and was demonstrated by the tremendous outpouring of affection from his colleagues. Chef John's uplifting personality, joy for cooking, mentoring and serving others will live forever in all of us.
John will be deeply missed by all.
Public Visitation will take place on Friday March 5, 2021 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church 2350 E Dempster St, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Private family services will follow the visitation and Interment will take place at Elmwood Cemetery. Those attending the visitation are required to wear a mask at church and after paying your respects, please exit the church.
In lieu of flowers or other contributions, the family is establishing a fund for the education of John's minor child, Angelo. Accordingly, the family respectfully asks that any donations be made to Debbie Chiakulas.
For info 708-456-8300 or www.cumberlandchapels.com
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Mar. 3, 2021.