Each year the beginning of fall in Chicago is marked by one of my favorite culinary events, Chicago Gourmet presented by Bon Appetit. This year the weather couldn’t have been better for a day of wining and dining through the well groomed lawn of Millennium Park. More than 150 Chicago chefs along with wine, spirits, and beers from around the world came together for live cooking demos, seminars, tastings, book signings and more. While New York is often considered the culinary capital of the U.S., Chicago’s recent line-up of tasting events like Chicago Gourmet and the prestigious James Beard Awards move to Chicago, shows the country that we are not far behind.
One of my favorite highlights of the day was seeing Iron Chef Morimoto break down a 120 pound tuna in one of the live cooking demos. While I thought that fish was enormous, Morimoto said the largest tuna he has ever butchered was 600 pounds! It was amazing to see just how quickly Morimoto and his team were able to turn a massive fish into the sushi piece that you order at your favorite restaurant.
In addition to feasting on the food and drink filled lawn, I attended the Grand Cru event that paired decadent bites from James Beard award winning chefs and elite wines from vineyards around the world. Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard was even nice enough to snap a quick photo with me, in between busily plating some delicious goat empanadas. One of my favorite things about Chicago chefs is that even though many have moved to celebrity status within the culinary community, every time I attend a tasting event they are out there cooking and hustling alongside the rest of their staff.