Dad in the spotlight: Joe Flamm on being a new dad

Chicago Parent – Joe Flemm

Joe Flamm was the winner of Top Chef Season 15 and is the executive chef at Spiaggia. We sat down to talk with him about being a new dad.


Quick facts


    • Spouse: Hillary Delich


    • Little sous-chef: Luka William, 4 months


    • Baby must haves: Baby Brezza, DockATot and warm blankets in every room, especially after this winter


    • Favorite places to visit as a family: It’s no surprise they are both food related—Beverly Bakery & Café and Cà Phê Dá in Pilsen. We also have a lot of bucket list restaurants for when the weather gets warmer.



Having a husband who is also a chef must have been a dream come true for Hillary when she was pregnant. What are some of the things you made for her?


We got really lucky in the fact she wanted pasta, and lots of it throughout her pregnancy. I’d do spicy rigatoni with tomato sauce and carbonara. She also craved chicken so I’d find myself roasting whole chickens for her during the week—I felt like Julia Child. She was also really into gelato, and I would bring her gelato by the quart on a nightly basis.


What was it like the first time you saw your son?


It was one of those emotions I can’t begin to describe. Exciting. Exhilarating. I had goosebumps one minute, and the next minute I was jumping up and down. It was the most thrilling moment I’ve ever been a part of.


I bet you’re looking forward to the day Luka can eat solid foods. How are you going to develop his palette?


It’s funny, when my wife got pregnant all I could think about was the meals we’d have together as a family. I want to take him to my favorite places on the South Side, and I want him to experience good food early in life. I can’t wait to take him to farmers markets and cook together.


You’ve probably taken Luka out to eat quite often. Do you have any tips on taking babies to a restaurant?


Plan your feeding schedule before you go so you aren’t feeding a bottle during dinner. Go to dinner in groups—all of your friends will want to hold the baby and it’ll take the pressure off you.


How has being a dad changed you?


Parenthood gives you a new level of respect not only for your parents but for all parents. You begin to look at other parents traveling with kids in the airport and feel empathy for them. It’s also surreal to just be overwhelmed with love for this little person you just met and want to give the world to.


What’s the most unexpected thing about parenthood?


The instant bond you feel with your child as a dad. You always hear people talk about the connection between a mother and child, but it’s surreal that all of a sudden you meet them and have this intimate connection as well. Luka is my best friend.


What’s your parenting style?


parent like a chef. The more prepared you are, the more you are able to deal if things go wrong. I always try to stay on top of the everyday tasks like washing bottles. I’ve also learned and have seen that everyone struggles. What works for you may not work for someone else. I’m going to let myself be OK with learning along the way.



This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue. 


Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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