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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 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

$255 per person, exclusive of taxes and fees, 21+. Space is limited.

After presenting a series of intimate, sold-out events last year, Go Gourmet returns in 2021, featuring numerous events curated by chefs at restaurants and venues citywide. From daytime gatherings and evening soirees to multi-course feasts representing a host of cuisines and themes, Go Gourmet events range in gathering sizes and feature wines and spirits from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio.

    • September 1: Celebrating Phil Vettel: A Four-Star Feast. Celebrating the contributions of dining critic Phil Vettel, who chronicled Chicago’s restaurant industry for more than three decades, the multi-course dinner will be hosted by Chef/Owner Tony Priolo and Owner Ciro Longobardo at Piccolo Sogno, with special guest chefs Paul Kahan (One Off Hospitality), Martial Noguier (BISTRONOMIC) and Mindy Segal (Mindy’s Bakery / Mindy’s Edibles). 6 p.m. cocktail reception, 6:30 p.m. seated dinner; $175 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; Piccolo Sogno (464 N. Halsted St.).
    • September 7 and 14: Passport to Pizza Join certified Pizzaioli, Robert Garvey, for an experience honoring Chicago’s very own staple – pizza. Robert invites pizza-lovers into his home, where he’ll showcase some of his worldly creations. Pizza will be paired with wine selections from Ruffino and spirited cocktails from Campari America. 6:00 p.m.; $65 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; Robert’s Pizza & Dough Co. (454 N. McClurg Ct.).
    • September 11, 12, 18, 19: Bar Siena Fitness Series. Held two weekends in September, join Chef/Partner Fabio Viviani for Bar Siena’s wellness brunch. Guests will work up a sweat at a HIIT or yoga class, earning a festive brunch to follow that includes savory and sweet brunch items and interactive wine and cocktail stations. Classes and instructors vary weekly. 9 a.m. class, 10 a.m. brunch; $65.50 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; Bar Siena (832 W. Randolph St.).
    • September 14: Mentorship is a Virtue. Guests will have the opportunity to experience an evening with Virtue’s Chef and Owner Erick Williams and his team Chef de Cuisine Damarr Brown and Pastry Chef Becky Pendola. Working with Williams since his time at MK, Brown and Pendola welcome guests to gather around the Virtue table for this special meal. 6 p.m. cocktail reception, 6:30 p.m. seated dinner; $149 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; Virtue (1462 E. 53rd St.).
    • September 14: Wagyu + Sake Dinner hosted by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. Join an interactive evening with wagyu, widely considered the world's rarest and most exquisite beef. The five-course dinner is a collaboration between Lettuce Entertain You Chefs Naoki Nakashima, Master Sushi Chef Kaze Chan of Sushi-san and Chef Evan Packer of RPM Steak. The menu highlights wagyu and includes paired sake and wine. The evening is presented with the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago and Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits. 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, 7 p.m. seated dinner; $225 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; RPM Steak (66 W. Kinzie St.).
    • September 15: Respecting Nostalgia and Avoiding Authenticity. Finding innovation through the lens of familiarity is the ethos for the way the team at S.K.Y. prepare meals. Join Chef/Owner Stephen Gillanders, Pastry Chef Tatum Sinclair and their team as they demonstrate to guests how to innovate in 2021 by taking something identifiable and transforming it into an inspired dish. Two sessions offered (5:30 p.m. cocktails, 6 p.m. seated dinner and 8:30 p.m. cocktails, 9 p.m. seated dinner); $118 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; S.K.Y. (1239 W. 18th St.)
    • September 22: Celebrating Leading Ladies. Camaraderie and legacy are at the heart of this multi-course dinner hosted by Owners Clodagh and Amy Lawless of The Dearborn. They, along with Executive Chef Aaron Cuschieri and Pastry Chef Julianna Westgor, will welcome Sophie Evanoff of Vanille Patisserie to their kitchen as the trio invites guests on a journey of recipes originated from women figures in culinary history. Alpana Singh, owner of Terra & Vine will emcee as she presents wines from women-owned wine and spirits-makers. Two sessions offered (5:30 p.m. cocktails, 6 p.m. seated dinner; 7:30 p.m. cocktails, 8 p.m. seated dinner); $130 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity; The Dearborn (145 N. Dearborn St.).

The Grand Tasting on the Main Lawn will not take place in Millennium Park this September, with a return planned for 2022.

Tickets to all Chicago Gourmet events go on sale at 10 a.m. CST on Thursday, August 5.


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