Homemade: How Daisies Chef Joe Frillman grew his dream from a farm to Michelin star restaurant

Tanja Babich Image
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Homemade: Meet Chef Joe Frillman, a true farm-to-table story
ABC7's Tanja Babich traveled to southwest Michigan to learn how Chef Joe Frillman's story is truly farm-to-table.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago restaurant owner received a highly coveted award for his restaurant's dedication to sustainability.

ABC7's Tanja Babich traveled to southwest Michigan to learn how Chef Joe Frillman's story is truly farm-to-table.

"I grew up on a farm," Frillman said, "It's, kind of, unincorporated Buffalo Grove and then the town kind of built up around the property that, uh, we grew up on."

Now Frillman went back to his farm roots to his brother Tim's southwest Michigan farm.

The pair work together to choose what to grow for the spring planting season. This way Joe Frillman can sow seeds of inspiration with his kitchen staff at Daisies in Logan Square.

Joe Frillman said he made farm-to-table his ethos when he met Marty Travis from Spence Farms. He said they started to pay attention to seasons and where their food was coming from.

"Not only is it better for the environment, but you get tastier creations that come out of it," he said.

The proof - in this case - is in the pasta.

"When people come in, they recognize some terms and phrases, but don't necessarily know what you're getting," Joe Frillman said.

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As the accolades pile up - among them, a rare Michelin green star for sustainability. Joe is grateful that Daisies has been embraced by the community since it opened in 2017.

Not only has his business grown, but also his family.

"I don't think I could exist in both worlds without owning the business," Joe Frillman said. "I drop my children off, I pick my children up. I spend that time with them on a daily basis. If I was working in someone else's kitchen, I think they'd less inclined to allow me to do those types of things."

With his family in mind, Joe Frillman said he does his best to offer flexibility and security to his staff members too.

His philosophy for managing people is like his philosophy for food: you get out what you put into it.

"Treat your staff better," he said. "Create a place that is for and part of the community. Give back to that community through charitable work and efforts and donations.

Daisies is one of few restaurants in Chicago that charges a mandatory fee on all of its dine-in checks. The 25% service charge covers gratuity and funds benefits for all employees. Benefits include access to health insurance, a 401k program, and maternity or paternity leave.

To learn more about Daisies hours and menu, click here.

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