Chicago’s grandest food and wine event, Chicago Gourmet, took place this past weekend. Whether you are local or a tourist, dining in Chicago is always a fun and sometimes adventurous experience. For the eighth year, Chicago Gourmet was held in the heart of the city’s Millennium Park. The in-demand tickets sold out well in advance of the first day’s activities. (Heads up if you want to go next year!)
This culinary heaven showcases Chicago’s greatest chefs, restaurants, Master Sommeliers, wine, spirit and beer makers. In addition, celebrated chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Lorena Garcia, and Jean-George Vongerichten just to name a few, hosted cooking demonstrations on Bon Appetit’s Main and Culinary Stages. This three-day weekend event had activities going though out the day and night covering cooking demonstrations, book signings, food and wine seminars, tastings and so much more. For any yoga fans, there was even a Sunday morning class just for you.
When you come onto the grounds of Millennium Park, you instantly see all the big white tents that house all the difference pavilions, chefs, restaurants, brands and retailers.
Sponsored by Bon Appétit Magazine and the Illinois restaurant Association, guests are able to sample a wide range of culinary dishes from street food like corn on the cob to a wealth of different recipes for seafood ceviche to prime beef dishes and of course, pork, found in many different platings. Within each pavilion, were 1-3 different restaurants highlighting the theme of the tent: seafood, Mexican food, Italian food, etc. for you to try. The Chefs’ pride in telling you about their dishes was evident. Even after telling hundreds of people the same thing, they exuded such joy in describing their creations that you couldn’t help but be excited to be given the plate. And, if there was a certain ingredient that you were not able to eat, they would accommodate your request to remove it without hesitation. Impressive given they are working in a tent and not their formal kitchens.
There’s a schedule that identifies at each pavilion who the chefs/restaurants would be during a two hour window each day. If you are following certain chefs, getting in line in advance of the start time is a really good tip.
The team behind Chicago Gourmet must have listened to attendees requests from years past by adding extra seating on the grounds to give you a chance to enjoy your food and scenery, check schedules to find chef demos or plan which pavilion you will stop by next and just rest in between courses. In addition. while waiting in line, caterers carried silver trays offering samples of foods and drinks from across the park. Depending where you were in the park, you heard music coming from the bands or DJs adding to the party ambience.
Gibsons Restaurant Group
Texas de Brazil
Francis Ford Coppola
Maple Leaf Farms
Don Q Rum
Oak + Char
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Tuscany on Taylor
Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine
The Patron Spirits Company
Karyn’s Raw Bistro
Turano Baking Company
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
The food and beverage competitions held on Friday and Saturday night, Hamburger Hop and Punch Kings respectively, were a hit with partygoers. Rooting for your favorite chefs, bartenders and recipes made for a memorable night.
In the end, the 2015 Chicago Gourmet Food and Wine Event was indeed “culinary heaven”. Southern Wine and Spirits shared their brands with guests introducing some new products, reminding of us of existing options and overall just encouraging guests to have a great time.
If you enjoy dining out, always wanted to try a wide variety of restaurants but never had the time and are intrigued by the creative stylings of highly talented chefs, please plan a trip — whether you are local or not — to the 2016 Chicago Gourmet Food and Wine Event.