Hundreds of people attended this year's Chicago Gourmet, one of the nation's most distinguished culinary festivals.
Founding partner Illinois Restaurant Association, along with presenting sponsor Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, hosted events featuring talent from Chicago and around the world on Sept. 22-25 at the rooftop of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. (Somm Sessions took place at LYRA, 905 W. Fulton Market; Late Night Gourmet was held at TAO Chicago, 632 N. Dearborn St.)
The events included Tacos & Tequila, Somm Sessions, Hamburger Hop, Late Night Gourmet, Grand Cru and the new item Prost! in the Park.
Hamburger Hop featured 15 competitors who were judged by local celebrities (such as food critic Phil Vettel, Chef David Wang and NBC 5 Chicago's Marion Brooks) and the general public (the "People's Choice"). Mayor Lori Lightfoot also appeared and spoke a few words. Chef Corey Grupe of Buckhead Meat was named the Judges' Award winner; his "Little Miss Figgy Burger" featured camembert and fig fondue with bacon vindaloo topped with pickled pepper relish on a Turano Brioche Bun. Chef Kwame Onwuachi earned the People's Choice Award for "The Truffle Burger," complete with taleggio smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded romaine and shaved truffles atop a Turano potato bun.
The Grand Cru, of which there were two sessions on Sept. 24, featuring an all-star lineup of chefs, including Favio Viviani (Siena Tavern), Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), Soo Ahn (Adalina), Dylan Patel (avec); Devon Quinn (eden), Joe Flamm (Rose Mary; BLVD Steakhouse) and Diana Browder (Marisol).
Chef Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde Restaurant; Pastificio) hosted Prost!a gourmet Oktoberfest with chef takes on classic German fare along with oom-pah bands, cocktails and a lot of beer.