Burn the Place

Burn the Place

Iliana Regan

Pub: July 16, 2019

Agate Midway


A singular, powerfully expressive debut memoir that traces one chef’s fight to the top—from farm girl in rural Northwest Indiana to Michelin-starred restaurant owner in Chicago—and what happens once she gets there. Burn The Place is a galvanizing culinary memoir that chronicles Iliana Regan’s journey from gigging frogs on the family farm to opening her nationally acclaimed restaurant Elizabeth. Her story is alive with startling imagery, raw like that first bite of wild onion, and told with uncommon emotional power. Regan grew up the youngest of four headstrong girls on a small farm in Northwest Indiana. Even when she was still in diapers, Regan understood to pick only the ripe fruit. In the family’s leaf-strewn fields, the orange flutes of chanterelles seemed to beckon her while they eluded others. Regan has always had an intense, almost otherworldly connection with food and earth—it’s people that have always been harder. As she learned to cook in the farmhouse, got her first job in a professional kitchen at age fifteen, taught herself cutting-edge cuisine while running her “new forager” underground supper club, and worked her way from front-of-house staff to running her own kitchen, Regan often felt that she “wasn’t made for this world.” She was a little girl who longed to be a boy, gay in an intolerant community, an alcoholic before she turned twenty, a woman in an industry dominated by men. Burn The Place will introduce readers to an important new voice from the culinary scene, an underrepresented perspective from the professional kitchen, and a young star chef whose voice is as memorable and deserving of praise as her food.