Tacos, wine, hamburgers and beer top the list of offerings at this year’s Chicago Gourmet, a four-day extravaganza highlighting the best aspects of the city’s dining scene.
Tickets for the main fest and its satellite events Sept. 22-25 go on sale at 10 am Wednesday, ranging from $255 for one of two expansive Grand Cru tasting sessions, to $60 for Late Night Gourmet.
Unless otherwise stated below, the events will take place on the rooftop of Harris Theater, overlooking Millennium Park, and are open to people 21 years and older.
Kicking off the festivities Thursday, Sept. 22, celebrity chef Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo) will host the chefs behind some of Chicago’s top taco spots during Tacos & Tequila. From 7-10 pm, mariachi bands and DJs will entertain while guests sip on tequila and mezcal. Chefs whipping up tacos range from Marcos Ascencio of Taqueria Chingon to chefs from Carnitas Uruapan, Rubi’s on 18th and 5 Rabanitos. Tickets are $99 per person.
Friday, Sept. 23 will feature the Somm Sessions lunch ($250 per person) at Lyra, 905 W. Fulton Market, where a trio of master sommeliers compete with wine and song pairings for each course from noon to 2 pm
That evening, James Beard award-winning chef Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat will host the fan-favorite Hamburger Hop, which will pit a dozen chefs against one another as they vie for the beefy glory of being named the event’s top burger — or the winner of the People’s Choice award, selected by guests.
Hamburger Hop competitors include chefs D’Andre Carter of Soul & Smoke (which the Chicago Tribune named as the best new Chicago-style barbecue of 2022); Rohini Dey of Vermilion, Becca Grothe of TriBecca’s Sandwich Shop, recent “Chopped” winner and Frontier chef Brian Jupiter, and more. Tickets are $130 per person.
Late Night Gourmet will follow with late-night bites, specialty cocktails and music at TAO Chicago, 632 N. Dearborn St., from 9 pm to midnight. Guests can get a discounted package for Hamburger Hop and Late Night Gourmet for $175.
Grand Cru will draw the largest list of acclaimed Chicago chefs to the Harris Theater rooftop during two sessions Saturday, Sept. 24, from 2-5 pm and 7-10 pm Joining Izard and fellow “Top Chef” winner Joe Flamm, executive chef of Rose Mary, featured Grand Cru chefs include James Beard award winner Beverly Kim of Michelin one-star restaurant Parachute and Wherewithall ; Thai Dang (HaiSous), Devon Quinn (eden), Dylan Patel (avec) and Jenner Tomaska of Esmé, which also has a Michelin star.
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Along with the local chefs, French chef Daniel Boulud, best known for his eponymous Michelin two-star restaurant in New York City, Daniel, will be at both sessions.
New this year, Prost! in the Park will wrap up the weekend with an Oktoberfest-style beer and spirits festival with host chef Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde.
From 1-4 pm Sunday, Sept. 25, drinks and bites celebrating German tradition with a dash of Chicago spirit will get dished out by participating chefs including Leigh Omilinsky (Swift & Sons), Tigist Reda (Demera Ethiopian Restaurant), Darnell Reed (Luella’s Southern Kitchen), Mark Steuer (Funkenhauser ) and Paul Virant (Vie, Vistro Prime and Gaijin). Tickets are $95 per person.
This year, the festival will benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the association behind Chicago Gourmet. The foundation offers scholarships for postsecondary degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management; a restaurant employee relief fund; and other career support for the industry.
For tickets, a full list of participating chefs and event details, visit chicagogourmet.org.
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