Since her childhood cooking with her grandparents on their ranch in Victoria, Texas, Sarah Grueneberg knew she was destined to work in the culinary world. Originally from Houston, Grueneberg moved to Chicago in 2005 to join the team at the award-winning Spiaggia under the leadership of Tony Mantuano. Beginning as a line cook, she quickly rose the ranks to Chef di Cucina in 2008 and then Executive Chef in 2010. During her tenure as Executive Chef, Spiaggia was awarded one Michelin Star for three consecutive years.
After graduating from culinary school in 2001, she started her first career-changing job with a position at the iconic Brennan’s of Houston and by 2003 was named the restaurant’s youngest female sous chef. Grueneberg has traveled throughout Italy, Asia, Europe and the U.S., which has inspired her culinary approach of “following the food” and truly understanding “the dish” by knowing the people and culture that created it.
In 2017, Grueneberg received the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” and also was named a semifinalist in the 2019 James Beard Awards for “Outstanding Chef.” Grueneberg has been a competitor and finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Texas” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet.” She has also been named a “Rising Star Chef” by Chicago Social magazine in 2009 and 2016 and Eater Chicago’s “Chef of the Year” in the 2011 Eater Awards. In April 2018, Grueneberg premiered the new WTTW – PBS Chicago show “Dishalicious,” where she serves as host and invites three guest chefs, and friends, to create dinner party dishes in front of a live studio audience.
Grueneberg is currently Chef/Partner of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in Chicago’s West Loop, which she opened in November 2015 with business partner and long-time friend Meg Sahs. The restaurant has received acclaimed reviews from various outlets, including three out of four stars by The Chicago Tribune. In 2016, Monteverde received accolades including: one of Food & Wine’s “America’s Best Restaurants,” a top 50 finalist in Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants” list, Eater’s “21 Best New Restaurants in America,” GQ’s “12 Best New Restaurants,” Eater Chicago’s “Restaurant of the Year” in the 2016 Eater Awards, the “Worth the Wait” award in Chicago Tribune Dining Awards and named one of Chicago Magazine’s “15 Best New Restaurants.” In 2017, Monteverde was named one “America’s 38 Essential Restaurants” by Eater and then awarded “Restaurant of the Year” in the 2018 Jean Banchet Awards.