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Dining & Entertaining

Fine dining finesse

FoxFire head chef K.C. Gulbro gives menu a makeover

Kane County Magazine

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A fter more than 20 years in the industry, K.C. Gulbro has worked his way up the restaurant industry ladder, from the bottom rung to the top. His latest role is as a co-owner at FoxFire in Geneva. And when the fine-dining spot needed a new head chef two years ago, he stepped up to fill that role, too.

Gulbro’s culinary training comes from working at the grill at a variety of establishments.

“I have a culinary background, but I was never in the kitchen here,” he says. “I’ve worked at a few different places in the kitchen and a few places as general manager. I was always cooking wherever I went.”

His first restaurant job was as a busboy and dishwasher at the now-closed Baker’s Square in Carol Stream. Over the years, Gulbro worked his way up the ranks at various restaurants in the Iowa City area. He moved back to Geneva in 2005 and began working with his father, and FoxFire founder, Curt Gulbro.

Since taking over the kitchen, K.C. Gulbro has brought a fresh perspective to the Foxfire menu, with a focus on seasonality and fresh ingredients.

“We’ve been doing some revamping of the menu,” he says. “We’ve made a lot of strides in bringing in new flavors.”

That means doubling the size of the menu to offer new steak, seafood and pasta options. One recent addition, The Curt, pays homage to Gulbro’s father. It’s a Cajun-crusted filet mignon served with avocado, wasabi yogurt and a teriyaki glaze, served alongside Asian-style Brussels sprouts.

Another new dish, The Bordone, is a nod to his mother’s Italian heritage. It’s a 14-ounce prime New York strip steak with a garlic crust and fresh basil, served with a peperonata salad and roasted fingerling wedges.

While there are plenty of new options, many tried-and-true dishes are there to stay.

“There are some items that have been on there since we first opened. And some of them are my mom’s favorites, so we cant get rid of them,” K.C. Gulbro says with a laugh.

Refreshing the menu has kept the chef plenty busy, but he still makes time to fulfill various duties outside the kitchen.

“I do everything from payroll, to purchasing, to cleaning the bathrooms,” says K.C. Gulbro. “It’s some long days and a lot of work, but it’s pretty rewarding.”

Fortunately, he has plenty of help. His father helps with billing, administrative tasks and manages the front of the house. Curt Gulbro greets every table and is the “face of Foxfire,” according to K.C. Gulbro. His brother, who works as a manager and jack-of-all trades, often mans the bar and also helps serve food.

“We’re a family place,” says K.C. Gulbro. “People like to come here. We’ve got an open kitchen, so we get a lot of people that come up and say thank you and you can see they’re happy with their meal. That’s the most rewarding part.”

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