Born and raised in Elgin, IL, a Northwest suburb of Chicago, Chef Amanda Downing developed a passion for "family style comfort food" at a young age. The oldest of six children, she spent her leisure time in the kitchen with her siblings and eventually transformed her love of cuisine – and afterschool hobby – into an exciting career.
After earning her Culinary Management degree from Elgin Community College and working her way up to executive sous chef at Michael Jordan’s acclaimed one sixtyblue restaurant, Chef Downing took River North’s Rockit Bar & Grill by storm as opening sous chef in 2004, with the restaurant earning numerous accolades – including Best Burger call outs from Good Morning America and Citysearch – with her as a mainstay in the kitchen. Her passion, creativity and leadership did not go unrecognized; when Rockit expanded in 2009 to a second location in Wrigleyville, Chef Downing was named the executive chef and operating partner of both locations.
When Rockit Wrigleyville underwent a transformation into Rockit Burger Bar, opening April, 2012, Chef Downing's ability to create familiar favorites with a gourmet twist became an instrumental and invaluable tool in the brand's evolution.
Chef Downing has also built a tremendous following on Twitter and Facebook founded on her sharing and love for food, and she is extremely active with several charitable causes, including Bear Necessities, the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, Common Threads, Gilda's Club, In Chefs Hands, Meals on Wheels and more.