Chicago Gourmet takes the cake

Sun. September 25, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Chicago Gourmet returned to the Downtown area once again to celebrate all the things surrounding its diverse culinary scene has to offer. From September 22-25, 2022 fortunate ticketholders could attend a variety of events around the city that showcased just a slice of what chefs and their teams provide every day at various establishments.

The events featured specific food such as tacos and hamburgers then moved into general tastings from restaurants with two Grand Cru sessions. New for this year was a Prost! In Park on Sunday afternoon. All of the events were held atop the Harris Theater Rooftop at Millennium Park, 205 East Randolph Street except for the Somm Session at Lyra and Late Night Gourmet at TAO Chicago.

Gone are the days when cooking demonstrations were held on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage and patrons waited in long lines for lobster rolls in Millennium Park. The Grand Cru installation followed the revamped layout of the previous year with two sessions. Guests entered an open patio with some seating provided and then could explore the covered sampling area with wine vendors in the middle surrounded by food representatives along the exteriors.

Even dividing up people into two sessions didn't make the difference needed for the high demand of popular establishments. Artsy restaurant Esme displayed their Flamin' Hot Cheetos with caviar and the ravenous crowd waited to eat up every bite.

Other highlights for Saturday evening fare included Top Chef Fabio Viviano's steak slivers and Chef Pat Sang's sushi bites.

Under the trees, there was a place to unwind away from the crowds with nearby liquor sponsors and photo opportunities.

Many people asked about desserts which could be a possible separate event for this organization and chefs to focus on in the future.

The festival benefits the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, an organization investing in youth programs to increase the hospitality workforce.

The Grand Cru was presented by UnitedHealthcare and Lexus. Bigger than ever before, the organizers could certainly expand in the future with more sessions to keep the minions from overrunning the event for 2023. It's a good problem to have as this favored event has the flavor that everyone seems to want these days. Chicago Gourmet is one of the most popular chef-focused festivals in the nation and continues to expand. Let's make it last a whole week next year!

See what the organizers drum up for 2023 by visiting in the future.