Chicago Gourmet has revealed its 2021 lineup and tickets are now on sale. Organizers at the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), the event’s founding sponsor have curated a month-long celebration beginning September 1.
Chicago Gourmet will benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation , a 501 (c)(3) dedicated to building and promoting the health and prosperity of the restaurant industry by investing in both youth and workforce. It has awarded more than $3.2 million in scholarships since its inception. Since October 2020, the IRAEF Employee Relief Fund has also provided $270,000 in cash relief grants to hospitality employees facing financial crisis because of COVID-19. The IRAEF continues to accept donations for the fund, which has evolved to now offer emergency cash assistance to Illinois food and beverage workers facing unanticipated hardship within the past 90 days such as accident, illness, injury, death of an immediate family member or natural disaster.
Events at this year’s festivities include:
The Hamburger Hop is back. A hit in 2020, the Citywide Hamburger Hop once again takes the battle beyond Millennium Park. Chef competitors will offer burgers for dine-in, delivery or carry out from September 1-30. One dollar from every burger sold will benefit the IRAEF. Based on flavor and overall presentation, they will vote on their favorite at chicagogourmet.org by September 22. Visit the continually growing list of restaurant participants here.
The Hamburger Hop also makes a festive return in person at the Harris Theater rooftop on Friday, September 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. There, organizers will announce the champ of the citywide grilling battle, while also crowning the Peoples and Judges’ winners of those chefs participating onsite that evening. Hosted by the chef Stephanie Izard and judged by a panel, the evening’s guests are in for a night of burgers, cold beer, wine and spirits. $130 per person, exclusive of taxes and fees, 21+.
Tacos & Tequila is a newly announced event hosted by Chef Rick Bayless (Frontera Restaurants). Showcasing an array of gourmet tacos and agave spirits, the event will be held on Thursday, September 23 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Harris Theater Rooftop. $95 per person, exclusive of taxes and fees, 21+.
An expanded variation of the Grand Cru takes place in person on Saturday, September 25 at the Harris Theater Rooftop. The event will showcase wines, an enhanced focus on artisanal craft spirits in a newly added Artisanal Cocktail Lounge, and cuisine prepared by Chicago chefs.
Guests will taste and learn in “grand” style with Master Sommeliers including Serafin Alvarado and mixologists like Daniel de Oliveira (both with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits), while chefs will prepare bites to match. Two sessions will be offered from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. The starring culinary lineup includes:
- Session 1 (2 to 5 p.m.)
- Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies
- Thai Dang, HaiSous, Cà Phê Dá
- Rohini Dey, Vermilion
- Joe Flamm, Rose Mary
- Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
- Stephanie Izard, Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, Cabra, Sugargoat, Duck Duck Goat, Girl & The Goat Los Angeles
- Session 2 (7 to 10 p.m.)
- Mike Clark, Mastro’s Steakhouse
- Gene Kato, Momotaro
- Dylan Patel, avec
- Jonathon Sawyer, Adorn Bar & Restaurant
- Sahil Sethi, ROOH Chicago
- José Sosa, Gibsons Italia
- Session 1 (2 to 5 p.m.)
$255 per person, exclusive of taxes and fees, 21+. Space is limited.