A native of San Diego, CA and a graduate of the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Evanston, IL, McClain’s star rose quickly in the culinary world.
McClain broke onto the national scene at Trio restaurant in Evanston, earning four-stars and seven years’ worth of national accolades. He opened Spring, his homage to seafood, in 2001 to extraordinary critical and consumer success. That year, Spring was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” award, and McClain was named by Esquire magazine as “Chef of the Year”.
In 2004, McClain opened his second restaurant, Green Zebra. This vanguard concept brings vegetables to the center of the plate, and has been lauded by prestigious outlets such as the New York Times and Bon Appetit. In 2005, McClain swung the pendulum in the opposite direction and opened Custom House. Located in a boutique hotel in Chicago’s historic Printer’s Row, this modern interpretation of the classic steakhouse focuses on artisan meats and sides reinterpreted with McClain’s distinctive flair.
In 2006, McClain was honored with the Best Chef Midwest award from the James Beard Foundation.
Chef McClain’s newest venture, Sage, is located in ARIA at City Center in Las Vegas. His spirited New American menu takes the seasons as its departure point, building on the irresistible freshness of California local harvest interwoven with Mediterranean undercurrents. When asked why he chose to open a restaurant in Las Vegas, McClain said: “I’ve been so fortunate to have achieved many of my goals in
Chicago, an amazing city and great restaurant town. I have always aimed high, seeking new challenges. ARIA at CityCenter is such an awe-inspiring development; I am thrilled to be among the chefs and restaurateurs included in the project.” In 2010, Sage was listed as one of Esquire Magazine’s Not to Miss and was awarded Best Restaurant of the Year by Desert Companion Magazine.