Matt Kerney, Executive Chef
Chef Matt Kerney grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago with his mother and sister. At fifteen, he began bussing tables at a local chain restaurant, worked his way into the kitchen—and never turned back. He attended culinary school at Joliet Junior College, before landing on the line at Chicago’s critically acclaimed French restaurant, Ambria. After receiving an educational dive into the workings of a high-caliber kitchen, he hopped a plane to Hawaii and spent time cooking on the island of Maui. A year later, yearning for Chicago’s world-class dining scene, he returned by way of Chef Michael Carlson’s famed Wicker Park spot, Schwa. At the acclaimed tasting menu restaurant, Kerney amplified his skillset as he worked alongside an intimate crew of cooks—and helped rake in a Michelin star. Leaving Schwa for Longman & Eagle, he excelled in his role as Chef de Cuisine and soon earned the title of Executive Chef, maintaining the beloved restaurants’ Michelin star rating. After four years at the helm, he departed Longman and took to consulting before joining Vincent Maiorano and Margaret Eisen to form Brass Duck Hospitality Group. Together they opened Brass Heart, boasting two tasting menus—one completely vegan—that are as progressive as they are approachable. Kerney leads the kitchen, while leaning on a talented culinary team to assist in crafting eclectic dishes that are familiar, beautiful and reflective of the season. He appreciates a good movie, a kitchen filled with music and the belief that food can be weird: but it better taste good.
Margaret Eisen, Owner
Born to a trader and advertiser-turned-homemaker, Margaret Eisen learned the value of hard work at a young age. She grew up just outside Chicago in the North Shore suburbs, before heading to the mountains to study at Colorado State University. She stayed for three years, returning home to complete a degree in public communications and business, with an art history minor, at DePaul University. Out of college, she spent twelve years at the Chicago Board of Trade, where met her husband, Vinnie—a fine dining aficionado and experienced restaurant owner. Their dining adventures, coupled with her affinity for interior design, soon developed a hobby into a career. They joined forces with Michelin-starred Chef Matt Kerney, established Brass Duck Hospitality Group and opened the doors of Brass Heart to Chicago's vibrant Uptown neighborhood. Overseeing every detail, Eisen brought forth a cool, neutral aesthetic and an earthy sophistication to the interior of the space, featuring a striking curation of work from local photographers. Eisen lives with her husband and two children on Chicago’s North Shore and has a passion for animals, volunteering at no-kill animal shelter and rescue, Orphans of the Storm and Precious Pets Almost Home in her free time. She enjoys tennis, visits to the lake with her beloved family—and will never refuse a dinner invitation from her sweet Vinnie.
Vincent Maiorano, Owner
Innovative, industrious and quick-thinking, Vincent Maiorano was born with the outlook of an entrepreneur. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and began bartending and managing kitchens, while earning a B.A. in American History from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After college, he began a nearly decade-long career as a grain broker at the Chicago Board of Trade, where he met his wife—a smart and savvy North Shore girl with an eye for interior design. After the trading business went digital, Maiorano decided to make the leap into the hospitality industry, joining Wicker Park’s now famous restaurant, Schwa, as a partner. He oversaw everything from inventory and payroll to management and customer relations at the Michelin-starred spot, ensuring precision in nearly every aspect of the experience. As Maiorano continued to have a hand in running Schwa, his family grew to include two children and he shifted his time from the restaurant to his wealth management firm, National Securities. He continued dining at fine restaurants, spending time with family and soon joined his wife and Chef Matt Kerney in launching Brass Duck Hospitality Group. The trio opened Brass Heart—excited to unleash approachable fine dining on Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood with this first collaboration. With Kerney developing the menu and Eisen on interiors, Maiorano honed his enthusiasm for wine, crafting a list of makers with intriguing bottles at a plethora of price points at the new restaurant. He lives with his family in the Chicago suburbs and enjoys exercising, fine dining with his wife and passing along his hard working ways to his two young kids.