The annual Chicago food festival--sponsored by Bon Appetit, the Illinois Restaurant Association and Southern Wine & Spirits of America--returns to Millennium Park. Chicago Gourmet celebrates Chicago’s culinary achievements and the creative vision of the chefs, master sommeliers, and wine-, spirit-, and beer-makers who participate. It also spotlights Chicago as an international culinary destination via its unparalleled epicurean talent.
Noon-6 p.m. Sept. 23; noon-5 p.m. Sept. 24
Where: Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St., 312-742-1168)
How Much: Prices range $54.50-$358 (more on ticket prices)
What: Chicago Gourmet showcases local, national and international culinary talent during a three-day festival. Local talent includes the likes of Art Smith, Carrie Nahabedian and Rick Bayless, who also serve as guest speakers and seminar leaders. Chicago Gourmet attendees will indulge in tastings by more than 150 local chefs, plus sample vintners, spirits and craft beers from around the globe. In addition, there will be interactive and educational seminars, live-cooking demonstrations, book-signings and more.
Guests must be at least 21 to attend the events.
Here Is An Abbreviated Schedule Of What To Expect
Chicago Gourmet’s Main Event. Over a two-day period, attendees will indulge in tastings by more than 150 local chefs, plus sample vintners, spirits and craft beers from around the globe. In addition, there will be interactive and educational seminars, live-cooking demonstrations, book-signings and more.
Dine Around. Those who wish to earn a free, one-day pass to Chicago Gourmet may do so by participating in Dine Around. Dine at five participating restaurants (details TBA) with a minimum of $35 (before tax and tip) at each location to earn the ticket. It’s a popular offering, so the tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Grand Cru. Ticketholders for this special event within Chicago Gourmet sample some of the finest wines in the world. Michelin-starred chefs complement wines with signature bites.
Hamburger Hop. Chicago’s obsession with burgers goes into overdrive with the official kick-off event for Chicago Gourmet. Local chefs compete for bragging rights of the best burger in town during this event that includes craft beer pairings. The event takes place 6-9 p.m. Sept. 22 at Harris Theater Rooftop (205 E. Randolph St.).
Where To Stay
There are a number of hotels in the downtown area to consider. Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel, which is located in the South Loop, is a five-minute walk from Millennium Park. The historic luxury property is directly across the street from Grant Park. It's played host to a number of U.S. presidents, dignitaries, celebrities and other notables, including Katharine Hepburn and Al "Scarface" Capone. Other area properties to consider include Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, Essex Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, Hilton Chicago and South Loop Hotel.
Post-Chicago Gourmet Activities
Buddy Guy's Legends. Dubbed "the greatest living guitarist" by Eric Clapton, legendary Chicago blues star Buddy Guy opened his eponymous downtown live music venue in 1989. Throughout the years, the bar--considered one of Chicago's top live-music establishments--has hosted a who's who in show biz. The walls document the bar's rich history, featuring autographed photos, endless awards, retired Buddy Guy guitars and more. 700 S. Wabash Ave., 312-427-1190
Jazz Showcase. The city's oldest jazz club is open seven nights a week and has played host to legendary and up-and-coming artists. 806 S. Plymouth Ct., 312-360-0234
Vice District Brewing. The taproom is set up in communal style, encouraging guests to interact with one another as they sip craft beers from the tap. From the blonde ale Pleasure Trip to the black IPA Habitual, there’s a ton to choose from, as well as pretzels at the bar and menus from surrounding restaurants if you want to order in food. 1454 S. Michigan Ave., 312-291-9022