Lucrezia Trattoria's new chef finds creative freedom in Culver

Jeremy Branshaw poses in the kitchen at Lucrezia Trattoria in Culver. Branshaw started at Lucrezia six months ago. (Peter Talbot)

Jeremy Branshaw became the new chef at Lucrezia Trattoria in Culver six months ago.

Before starting at Lucrezia, Branshaw, 40, worked for six years at Davanti Enoteca, an italian restaurant in Chicago. He said he moved to Portage, Indiana so he could start a family and be away from the craziness of the city.

He was hesitant to leave a good job in the city with a decent salary, but Branshaw said the deciding factor to work in Culver was the opportunity to make a change.

“I’ve got a little more freedom here,” Branshaw said. “They give me freedom to do what specials I want to do. In the city, it’s corporate. It’s ‘Every penny matters.’”

Branshaw has been working in the food industry for more than 20 years. He said he’s never been to Culver before, but has been surprised by how adventurous people are about food this far out in the country. Branshaw said he believes in italian food.

“It’s super simple,” Branshaw said. “It’s rustic. It’s nothing complicated, and that’s what I enjoy about it.”

Branshaw said he’s worked under disciplined chefs that have instilled in him the importance of being organized, clean and not taking shortcuts. He feels prepared for the busy summer months ahead.

“I’ve got some guys trained and I feel very confident that it’s going to be different this summer than last summer,” Branshaw said.