Zach Lucchese, the talented young chef at Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant, is leaving the family business on Dec. 22.
Zach posted on his personal Facebook page this morning that his last day will be Dec. 22 at the restaurant. He thanked a number of family members, vendors and customers in the post, which you can see here:
“I’ve had a lot of things going in the last couple years and especially the last year,” he said in an interview with me after the post.
Zach said working in a family business is tough. He works with his parents, aunts, uncles and cousins at the restaurant, as well as grandparents John and Kathy Lucchese, though they’re less involved in day-to-day operations than they once were. They’re Grammy and Poppy and Zach referenced them in his post. Lucchese’s is a big family business that does a lot of catering and serves a lot of food.
“It’s always going to be a family restaurant, family-run,” he said of Lucchese’s, which is now at 655 C.R. 17, Elkhart. For more than two decades, the restaurant was downtown.
Zach graduated from culinary school in 2005 and became a chef at the restaurant. The last number of years he’s been executive chef, along with his aunt Michele.
He said Bob Lowe will become the chef overseeing the kitchen at night. Lowe has been learning the master sauces and is a talented chef.
Zach is leaving minority ownership in the restaurant and said he will likely stay in the food business, but wants to try other ventures. He may do some personal chef work or catering. He may move back to Chicago. He may open another place in the area. He plans to take some time over the holidays and after to mak those decisions.
“I just felt like it was at a time in my career to try something new, something different,” he said.
He is planning to do one last chef’s dinner before he’s done. A date hasn’t been set yet.
I’ve been friends of the Lucchese family since before I was a food writer, before Zach was regularly in the kitchen. I’ve eaten a lot of Lucchese’s food over the years. Zach continued his the fine tradition his grandparents started of serving fresh, flavorful food. I wish him well. And given the other Luccheses still involved in the family business, the restaurant will probably be just fine.
Best wishes, Zach. I’ll be interested to see where you land and how it goes.