John Chiakulas
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

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Chicago Tribune on Mar. 3, 2021.
9:30a.m. - 11:00a.m.
St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church
2350 E Dempster St,, Des Plaines, Illinois
Funeral services provided by:
Cumberland Chapels
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17 Entries
I grew up with John and was his long-time neighbor. I was friends with him and all of his brothers especially his oldest brother, Greg.
John worked hard and played hard...maybe a little too hard on both ends of that spectrum.
The bottom-line is that John was passionate about pretty much everything he did. I feel very lucky that I was able to know him and the rest of his family; he was a great person.
Ken Touff
March 10, 2021
My Sincerest Condolences to Johns Family and Friends in this time of Sorrow. May God watch over You and give you Strength to Heal. May John Rest in Peace.
Rick Gentry
March 5, 2021
I have known John for 30 years and he has always been a man of integrity, kindness and character. This is a huge loss for his family and all those that knew. My condolences to the entire Chiakulas family.
March 4, 2021
When John was about ten or twelve years old I dressed him as a Christmas tree for his Halloween costume with branches I took from my own tree complete with lights and ornaments. He was absolutely adorable. John's father, Jim, and I were good friends. Jim was like a brother to me. Kids grow up and life took us down our own path. But Jim would give me reports from time to time on how Gregory, Charles, John and their brother Bobby and sister Stacey were doing. It's over ten years since we lost Jim and now we've tragically lost Jim's youngest son, John. I cannot tell you how deeply saddened I am. I have memories that I will cherish all my days. My deepest condolences to the family.
Pat Stack
March 4, 2021
I had the pleasure of working with John at a variety of locations during our time with Lettuce Entertain You. He was always welcoming and kind, and never stopped teaching those around him. My condolences to his family.
Justin Dumcum
March 4, 2021
Had some great times at Lettuce with John, always a positive attitude and remember him with much affection, have often thought of him, condolences to his family
Christopher Burrell
March 3, 2021
RIP John, you are gone from my sight but not from my Heart. We never would of felt ready to say good-bye to someone so Special as John, but this timing feels especially tough. Wishing John's family comfort and strength for the days and weeks ahead. God Bless and we will be praying for all of you. Mike Pantazis
March 3, 2021
So sorry to hear of Johns passing. My brother Mike and I grew up together on Morse Ave. with all the boys. May his memory remain eternal
Mary Frank
March 3, 2021
Sending positive thoughts and prayers to all of John's family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
Susie Shyne Pearson
March 3, 2021
John was a long time friend, he will be missed by all. RIP
Irv Flangel
March 3, 2021
I have known Johnny for over 20 years while he has been a chef at Lettuce Entertain You. When anyone walked into the Corporate kitchen, he was always so happy to see us, and often would cook for us, especially his chili. He will be missed.
Bertha Peters
March 3, 2021
My heartfelt sympathies to the family
March 3, 2021
Susan Gaspar
March 3, 2021
My condolences to the Chiakulas family. I knew his brother Greg that is how i met John. He was a caring and good person. Johns passion was in culinary arts which he became a great chef. He was a caring person about family friends and the world that surrounded him. My deepest sympathy is with the the Chiakulas family and the world that surrounded him . He will be greatly missed.
David Kramer
March 3, 2021
My condolences to the Chiakulas family I knew his brother Greg I met John he was a very caring and good person. I know he was a great chef and he had a great passion for working in the culinary arts. He will be remembered as a person who cared about people family and the world around him. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and his friends.
David Kramer
March 3, 2021
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
The Staff of Cumberland Chapels
March 3, 2021
Our deepest sympathies are with you. We knew John for many years. As a great Chef, co-worker, a great softball player and a great man. In time,we hope your memories will bring smiles to replace your tears.
Donna and Alan Ladin
March 2, 2021