The ampersand can be traced back to first century A.D., originally a ligature of the letters E and T, which, put together in Latin make the word “et” for “and.” Inside most modern ampersand symbols, you can spy the E and the T.
The ampersand got more stylized over time, as did the extended meaning “and per se and,” which school children recited as the finale of the alphabet. The ampersand earned a place in the dictionary in 1837.
When brushed beautifully, the ampersand has a similar sweep and feel as the Enso, an unfinished circle created by Japanese calligraphers. The Enso, Buddhist tradition teaches, requires practiced hands and clear minds, and represents the absolute of enlightenment.
The Enso is my center as a chef, my inspiration in creating cuisine with attention to detail, elevating flavors without fuss, using practiced hands and clear mind with care, restraint and in service to others.
The space where the Enso circle does not meet is full of possiblities. It is the and. The ampersand.
With this possibility, I have created Ampersand Wine Bar in Chicago. Wine & cheese. Charcuterie & small plates. Coffee & dessert. Comfort & service. Refined & approachable. Luxury & simplicity.
Our Architectural Beginnings
Click on the photos to see the full images at a larger size.