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Food Festival

Chicago Gourmet gives guests a backstage pass to events taking place throughout Chicago Sept. 24 – 29. The 12th year of Chicago Gourmet has nine encore events celebrating the Lights, Camera, Napkin! theme. Founded by the Illinois Restaurant Association and produced in partnership with title sponsor Bon Appétit and presenting sponsor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, guests will have the opportunity to rub elbows with chefs, sommeliers and mixologists.

The week-long event kicks off with a VIP evening at the theatre to see the one-and-only “Hamilton” with Chef Rick Bayless, complete with an exclusive Q&A with a cast member after the show. Inspired by everyone’s favorite mob movie, Italian Feast on the Odyssey Chicago River will have guests saying “arrivederci” as they set sail; Jeff Mauro hosts a star-studded Jef Comedy Jam at Theater on the Lake; and Chef Sarah Grueneberg will spice things up with The Big Chill(i): Gourmet Chili Cook-Off on the Harris Theater Rooftop. Returning by popular demand are favorites Battle of the Masters and Rise & Shine Gourmet along with other not-to-be missed revelries.

Take advantage of all the festivities throughout the city with events on sale now including:

1. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 6-10:30 p.m.: Raise your Glass to Freedom: A Hamilton Exclusive hosted by Rick Bayless at CIBC Theatre ($450/person) – 2019 has been dubbed the Year of Chicago Theatre by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatre. Theater-goers will we provided early access, a cocktail reception with small bites, premier seating, and an exclusive question-and-answer session with a cast member after the show. This year’s event will benefit The Bayless Family Foundation “Stepping Stone” Grants, which supports established Chicago theatre organizations with a vision for institutional and artistic growth.

2. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 7-10 p.m.: “Take the Gun, Leave the Cannoli”: Italian Feast presented by Performance Foodservice on the Odyssey Chicago River ($250/person) –Join chefs Fabio Viviani (Siena Tavern), Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno, Maillard Tavern), Carolina Diaz (Terzo Piano) and Federico Comacchio (Coco Pazzo) with wines curated by Alpana Singh, MS (Check Please!, Terra & Vine) for a mobster-inspired Italian feast aboard the Odyssey Chicago River. Guests will revel in traditional Italian fare and full-bodied wines, all set against the backdrop of the Chicago River in support of the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, which creates hospitality career pathways to post-secondary education and the workforce.

3. Thursday, Sept. 26, 6-9 p.m.: Jef Comedy Jam Hosted by Jeff Mauro at Theater on the Lake ($90/person) – Guests will indulge in fare and cocktails while enjoying a show by some of Chicago comedians, including “The Restaurant” comedy group. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

4. Friday, Sept. 27, noon – 2 p.m.: Battle of the Masters at Swift & Sons ($200/person) – Join Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Master Sommelier Serafin Alvarado for an afternoon of food, paired wine and musical numbers. Seven master sommeliers and three certified wine educators – some of whom include Fred Dame, MS (Daou Vineyards and Winery), Kathy Morgan, MS (Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits) and Alpana Singh, MS (Check Please!, Terra & Vine) – compete head-to-head as they pair both wine and song with delicious dishes to benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

5. Saturday, Sept. 28, 8-11 p.m.: The Big Chill(i): Gourmet Chili Cook-Off presented by Illinois Beef Association & Iowa Beef Industry Council on the Harris Theater Rooftop ($95/person) – Hosted by Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde) Chicago Gourmet will heat up for a star-studded chili competition. Join Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven), Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (The Purple Pig, Piggie Smalls Gyro Shop), Abe Conlon (Fat Rice), Diana Dávila (Mi Tocaya Antojería), Cedric Harden (River Roast), Kim Leali (One Off Hospitality), Chris Pandel (Swift & Sons) and Jose Sosa (Gibsons Italia) as they pull out all the stops to see whose creation will reign supreme. Benefiting the 100 Club, which provides for the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty, this event will honor our firefighters and policemen who risk their lives each day.

6. Sunday, Sept. 29, 8:30-10:45 a.m. or 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Rise & Shine Gourmet at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel ($40/person) – The calming sounds of instrumental intentions — from sun salutation through the stillness of Savasana — greet guests at Rise & Shine Gourmet, benefitting Pilot Light, which helps children make healthier food choices. The annual comforting combo of yoga and brunch includes a restorative yoga session, provided by CorePower Yoga, and bliss-inducing brunch bites from Jason Hammel (Lula Café) at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, one of Chicago’s landmark properties and a highly lauded 21st century boutique hotel.


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