Scenes from Chicago Gourmet 2013

Chicago Gourmet 2013Beautiful weather set the scene for a perfect day at Millennium Park as I perused my way through Bon Appetit’s Chicago Gourmet 2013. Guests were there to enjoy exclusive tastings from some of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs, attend live cooking demonstrations, book signings, learn about the latest food trends, seminars from Master Sommeliers, speak with renowned vitners, spirit makers, breweries from all over the globe and the opportunity to sample some of their finest and latest creations.

Exhibitors lined the walkways with samples of their goods, it’s non stop food and drink, you really have to know how to pace yourself as you walk, taste and sip along the way.
Chicago Gourmet 2013 One of the things I really enjoy doing is attending the live cooking demonstrations, the venue where they have it is very intimate, up front and personal, not a bad seat in the house! Loved this one in particular with Chef Hubert Keller where he transformed a very rustic braised beef dish into something you would have at a fine dining restaurant, I can’t wait to try it myself!Chicago Gourmet 2013 Chef Art Smith and Chef Lorena Garcia became great friends during their time on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” which was very evident from the chemistry they had together. For their demo they fused her Latin with his Southern cuisine and made a masa cake stuffed with an avocado smashed chicken salad, and it was all gluten free.Chicago Gourmet 2013 Chef Sarah Grueneberg is the executive chef of Spiaggia along with Chef Carrie Nahabedian of NAHA, their demo was all about vegetables, they talked about venturing out of our comfort zones, trying different varieties of peppers, squashes, eggplant, beans, okra, mixing them together into a ratatouille or salads, be adventurous in the kitchen you can’t go wrong when it’s all fresh and in season. Oh, FYI, the latest trendy vegetable is…. cardoons! They taste like artichokes, I’m in!Chicago Gourmet 2013 Here’s a view of the culinary stage, I seriously could have spent the whole day there, I really wanted to see Chef Graham Elliot but I was getting hungry and thirsty!Chicago Gourmet 2013 So many choices this doesn’t even scratch the surface, Mexican, Italian, Asian, Southern, French, American, Seafood, Brazilian, I could go on and on! There were several Chef Tasting Pavilions and yes, some had long lines but they seemed to move fairly quickly once they got going, besides it gave you a chance to slow down and digest a bit because in the tasting pavilions you would normally get anywhere from three to seven bites from the various restaurants featured.Chicago Gourmet 2013 Why don’t I make chimichurri sauce more often? It takes a good piece of meat and elevates it to another level!Chicago Gourmet 2013 I’ve learned from the past in order for me to make it through the day when sampling, you must pull off all bread products and just take a few bites, that’s it!Chicago Gourmet 2013 With the exception of a lobster roll!Chicago Gourmet 2013Chicago Gourmet 2013 Desserts were everywhere, sticky toffee pudding, root beer floats, cupcakes, gelato, apple and plum creations along with a separate Dessert Tasting Pavilion, which I didn’t even enter into for fear I might never come out!Chicago Gourmet 2013 There was plenty of charcuterie to nosh on while sampling your favorite drinks, small bites of proscuitto, salami and salty cheese, they even had a “protein bar” that was filled with cups of chili ready to go.Chicago Gourmet 2013 Wine of every variety, champagne, Patron, Stella, sake, whiskies, vodka, cognac, Grand Marnier, again I could go on and on. I encourage you to really sample what you like, mixing too many different things might not be such a good idea and remember to hydrate, there’s plenty of water stations all around.Chicago Gourmet 2013 I’m partial to Prosecco and the two brands that stood out for me were Zonin and Voga although I have to admit I liked Voga brand a little better and their bottles are gorgeous! A great gift for the holidays. I will be making many trips to Binny’s!Chicago Gourmet 2013Chicago Gourmet 2013 Deep blue skies in Chicago, great food and drink, nice crowd, entertainment and education, what more could you ask for on a beautiful Sunday afternoon?Chicago Gourmet 2013 Hope to see you next year!

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  1. These are the kind of events we live for!!!

  2. Cardoons-I used to grow them (it) in California. My Aunt married into a Sicilian family many, many moons ago and they made these quite often. Taste just like Artichoke Hearts-they are amazing. My Aunt would de-string them like you do celery, cut into approx 2 inch pieces and par boil very slightly then bread them and fry them in garlic infused olive oil.

  3. Looks like an amazing adventure! I would love to attend a festival like this someday.

  4. Oh Marie – I would have gone crazy with all that great food and drink to taste. The only problem is where to find room in one’s stomach. But those kinds of events are so fun, aren’t they? I too, love that Zonin prosecco, but I’ve never tried the Voga brand you mentioned. I’ll be looking for it now.

  5. I knew that Chicago was my kind of town! What great fun you had! (And learning stuff, to boot!)

  6. Oh my gosh Marie, that looks like it was soooo fun! I had no idea it was even going on, wish I had. I would have gone!

  7. A Campari Booth! Are you kidding me! I love this. That along with the good folks at Zonin would lure me to this Food Fair Extraordinaire, but I bet you already knew that… we have never had a show like this in LA.

    I love Hubert Keller. He always makes lots of sense with no silly frills or gimmicks. This sounds like a wonderful day. And you are so right about the mini-tastings of things. That would be all I could manage. Thanks for this post. It is the next best thing to being there.

  8. Linda Yannikos says:

    I’ve been following your blog for about a year or so now and find I enjoy many of your recipes. I find they are a lot like the Greek, all mediterrean I suppose, lol still very hearty and good!!!

  9. Really enjoyed this post Marie. Great foodie times in a great foodie city. Waiting to see your Keller beef dish.

  10. Oh how lucky you are! If I’d been in Chicago, I would have been right there too! thanks for sharing the experience, Marie!