Singh has high standards when it comes to cooking the Indian dishes properly. He added that Solare’s efforts have paid off. “I’m proud of this guy,” said Singh, leaning over to the chef.
Other entrees on the menu include pork medallions with porcini mushroom sauce, gorgonzola-crusted rib eye, and lobster with mac and cheese.
Solare says his inspiration for cooking came from his mother Victoria and father Joseph. He grew up watching his mom’s “old school Italian cooking,” and his father at work as head chef and club manager of the Lake Barrington Country Club.
Trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, and a certified nutritionist, Solare has worked in restaurants around the country.
For several years during his mid-20s, Solare worked in the White House kitchen and was a personal chef to Vice President Dick Cheney, preparing many of the veep’s favorite comfort foods, including steaks and lamb chops.
“He (Cheney) was a great individual, super nice,” said Solare, who once cooked a pheasant for a political function. The chef recalls cleaning the shot from the bird which Cheney had bagged.
For good luck, the chef said he still carries the Presidential coins given to him while at the White House.
But being employed at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was not the last time he catered to a VIP. In the fall, while presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in Lake Forest for a fund-raising event, he stopped by the Holiday Inn in Gurnee for the night.
Solare said it was a complete surprise when Romney’s buses pulled into the parking lot.
“Nobody knew,” he said. Though he never caught a glimpse of him, Solare did get to fix the Republican presidential candidate breakfast the next morning. “I made him an omelet with feta cheese and spinach.
”Future plans for Spice include creating a patio garden where the chef can harvest fresh heirloom tomatoes and micro greens. General Manager Stephen McCulley of Lindenhurst said he’s working on having live music in the state-of-theart lounge.
McCulley sees a rapid increase in people who have never experienced Indian food coming to enjoy it. “People are becoming educated in many types of ingredients, especially because they see new things on TV cooking shows,” he said, as Chef Solare brought an ingredient — black garlic — to try.
When you’re at Spice, be sure to ask for the chef’s special homemade doughnuts, a twist on the East Indian dessert gulab jamum, but with a “pop.”
And also don’t forget about the Friday night seafood buffet, and the Friday and Saturday night barbecue rib special.