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Dennis Kurtz

#131 Dennis Kurtz, Class of 1992
(Culinary)

I’m known for my prime rib. As head chef at Route 20 Bar & Grill in Freeport, IL, I’d say it was COD’s culinary program that taught me how to prepare a dish that stands out from the rest. I went to COD for two years after I graduated from Palm Springs High in 1988. I took my first culinary class after working with actor George Hamilton, opening the restaurant he owned in Indian Wells. I always wanted to someday open my own place, so I needed a good background in the back of the house.

The chef who was our instructor was so interesting. With so much passion, he forced the creativity out of me. There were 20 to 25 people in the class working on the same things, so you wanted to try to separate yourself and be different.

When I moved back to the Midwest in 1999, I did open up my own restaurant and ran it for few years. In 2008, I came to Route 20 to work with a crew in the restaurant that doubles as a supper club on the weekends. Now it’s my turn to inspire.