Top Chefs transform the Harris Theater Rooftop for Chicago Gourmet

Sun. September 24, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Chicago Gourmet gives ticket holders a massive meal pieced together with events to chew on all over the city for four jam-packed days. Hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association from September 21-24, 2023, this eagerly attended food festival shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. b

Thursday night's event had Michelin star Rick Bayless hosting Tacos & Tequila accompanied by live music on the Harris Theater Rooftop at Millennium Park. The Top Chef Master owns Frontera Grill and knows his way around Mexican cuisine adding to the fiesta that night. 

Friday night's Hamburger Hop was also held on the rooftop terrace with the first female Top Chef winner Chef Stephanie Izard handling hosting duties. Top Chef Shota Nakajima from Taku Seattle took home the trophy of Judge's Top Burger and the People's Choice Award that evening. Party people kept going at Tao Chicago for Late Night Gourmet until midnight.

Saturday brought the classic Grand Cru back for two sessions each running three hours. Guests enjoyed tent covered goodies indoors and well as outdoor activities while exploring savory samples along the way. The perimeter featured bite sized portions from restaurant while surrounding an island of spirits and wine in the middle of the covered patio.

Some standouts amongst the pack included Max Robbins' hearty eggplant bolognese and a mini smoke machine strategically placed for Kindling's oak-smoked seafood salad.

Bravo Top Chef winner Joe Flamm spared no expense with his whole jumbo shrimp Scampi Na Buzzara and Lexington Betty's Smokehouse handed out rich-in-cheese macaroni morsels. Top Chef competitor Beverly Kim served up Nduja Kimchi fried rice with a smile and Lakeview darling Wood gave a last taste of summer lettuce light bite thanks to Devin Kreller. 

Silent auction items up for grabs included a prix-fixe dinner for 10 at Top Chef Art Smith's Reunion and a VIP suite for an upcoming Chicago Bears game.

Top Chef season thirteen's lucky contestant Kwame Onwuachi served his truffle braised shorts ribs outdoors for both sessions and had prime spot placement in front thanks to car company Lexus.

Sunday funday gave early risers a chance to witness a reunion at Chef Art Smith's Reunion with the esteemed owner and Top Chef Lorena Garcia. The Navy Pier hot spot supplied sparkling mimosas and Bloody Marys at brunch to celebrate the occasion.

The toasting didn't stop until four o'clock at Prost in the Park as things wound down for another year. Another Top Chef winner Sarah Grueneberg hosted this final event highlighting all things German for a special gourmet Oktoberfest bash in the afternoon.

Visit today for more information on future foodie festivities.