Chef Bayless has worked in collaboration with event producers at the Illinois Restaurant Association to introduce a new, weekend-long theme: Food is Art! Use Your Palate. With artistic components woven into the weekend’s lineup, attendees will happen upon unique installations throughout Millennium Park, and will also experience visual art, music, design, storytelling, theater and more. In concert, they will rub elbows with their favorite culinary luminaries, nearly 250 restaurants and chefs and renowned vintners, spirit makers and brew masters participating in the epicurean adventure. All this…while tasting their way through the flavors and culinary artistry that make Chicago a gourmet epicenter.
NEW IN 2016: Food Is Art! Use Your Palate.
Throughout the weekend, revered chefs, premier artists and Master Sommeliers will unite to explore the vibrant connections between art and food. Here’s a snapshot:
- The Main Event kicks off on Saturday, September 24 with a discussion entitled Food and Art: An Exploration of Emotions on the Bon Appétit Main Stage. Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport will engage four esteemed chefs in an animated conversation on the topic: Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO, Leña Brava, Cerveceria Cruz Blanca), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy, NYC),Matthias Merges (Billy Sunday, Yusho, A10) and Todd English (Olives, Food Hall, P.U.B., Figs, bluezoo, Tuscany, Ça Va Brasserie).
- Wine seminars at Chicago Gourmet are among attendees’ most favorite attractions. This year, Master Sommelier Serafin Alvarado of presenting sponsor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits – also a talented musician in his own right – gets into the artistic spirit in the Choral Room on Saturday, September 24 withHitting the High Note: A Pairing of Music and Wine. This seminar will connect both music and flavor profiles, one sip (and one note) at a time.
- On Saturday, September 24, Stella Artois Cidre presents The Art of Plating with Jared Van Camp(Element Collective) on the East Lawn. Attendees will learn how to not just create a delicious dish, but to wow dinner guests with stunning presentation, as well.
- Ever wonder how interior design impacts your restaurant experience? On Sunday, September 25, Chicago Gourmet attendees can head to the East Lawn to meet the creative masterminds behind some of Chicago’s most stunning restaurants at the Innovations in Restaurant Design Panel Presented by Lexus. Led by the James Beard Foundation’s Director of Special Events and Sponsorship, Yvon Ros, this panel discussion will include conversation with James Beard Foundation award-winning principals Robert McAdams of Mode Carpentry (Cherry Circle Room), Micah Stanley of Lawton Stanley Architects (Grace) and Tom Nahabedian of the Bureau of Architecture and Design (Brindille).
- Who doesn’t love a good story? Chicago Gourmet has partnered with the popular storytelling group,Between Bites, which unites food writers, chefs and other industry leaders as they share dramatic, moving and often hilarious stories of their past and present. The group presents Between Bites: The Art of Storytelling at Chicago Gourmet on Sunday, September 25, starring Donnie Madia (Principal, One Off Hospitality), Ina Pinkey (Breakfast with Ina), and Lee Zaremba (Billy Sunday).
- At the 2016 Grand Cru – taking place from 2 to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, guests will experience samplings of dramatic cuisine and tastings of elite wines from around the world, curated by Master Sommelier Serafin Alvarado. This year’s premier experience features an all-star lineup of Chicago chefs selected from the Culinary Complete Works, a culinary component of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’syearlong Shakespeare 400 celebration. Each chef will present a dish that pays homage to a famous work by William Shakespeare, further igniting the weekend’s Food Is Art! theme.Alvarado will be joined all weekend by several Advanced and Master Sommeliers, all of whom truly champion the art of winemaking. They include Fred Dame (MS, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of California), Rob Bigelow (MS, St. Michelle Wine Estates), Ira Norof (CSE and CWE, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of California), Dlynn Proctor (Penfolds Ambassador, Americas and Canada), Alpana Singh (MS, The Boarding House, Seven Lions and Terra & Vine), Larry Stone (MS, Quintessa Vineyards) and Joseph Spellman (MS, JUSTIN Winery).
- On Saturday, September 24 from 8 to 11 p.m., Chef Rick Bayless unites his chef compadres at The Tao of Tacos, a newly imagined event in 2016. Using the humble tortilla as their blank canvas, participants will exhibit their artistic takes on the taco, promising a global flavor extravaganza! Cazadores Tequila andLagunitas will present cocktails and brews to match.
- Visual art from Christine Perri, a self-taught artist from Chicago who uses discarded wood from city trees and furniture to carve incredible wood sculptures.
- Abstract and figurative installations from Christopher Newman, a local artist that designs simple and direct sculptures that are symbolic of the forms and thoughts all humans share.
- Sculptor Janet Austin of Evanston, IL, whose work explores relationships and connections between humans and nature.
- Peter N. Gray is a multi-disciplinary artist with a diverse background involving science, art and an interest in socio-geographic developments. Much of his sculpture, images and installations intersect art, science and the environment.
- A graduate of Columbia College, Michael Young has worked on sculptures both large and small for the last 30 years. His work has been sold internationally, and he was commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution to create an entryway sculpture and mural to commemorate the museum’s anniversary.
- At 84 years old, Ruth Migdal is in the height of her artistic prowess. After deciding to be an artist at age fifteen, she overflows with creativity and passion, having spent many years as a Professor of Art at the City Colleges of Chicago. Her Diva Junior sculpture explores the joys and strengths of being a woman.
- Embracing universal themes that unite us—the cosmos, forces of nature, energy and beauty—sculpturistJill King’s works incorporate the various states of being human. She strives to create works that evoke grace, universal movement and positive shifts in consciousness, aiming to uplift viewers and highlight the interconnectedness of the human race.
- The Grand Cru will cue the drama with costumed actors from Chicago Shakespeare Theater channeling the great William Shakespeare while they mix and mingle with guests at the exclusive event. Actors will represent classic works such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- And much, much more!
Chefs Leave It All on the Main Stage.
Celebrated chefs nationwide will flex their culinary muscles at the Main Event, showcasing their cuisines, signing their books and sharing their insights. Duck
over to the All Ducked Out
demonstration from Stephanie Izard
and Kevin Hickey
and then explore Italian delicacies with Tony Priolo
and Sarah Grueneberg
. Enjoy select seasonal dishes from Rick Bayless
and an ooey, gooey grilled cheese battle starring Jimmy Bannos
, John Hogan
and Tony Mantuano
. Watch acclaimed chefs Takashi Yagihashi
and Bill Kim
switch it up in The Great Dish Switch
, and don’t miss Bon AppétitMagazine
Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport
and Deputy Editor Andrew Knowlton
and other all-star emcees
as they lead they way.The Bon Appétit
Main Stage lineup includes: