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Posts Tagged ‘Grand Chefs Gala’

  1. Foodie Fun Day #6: Grand Chef’s Gala Part 2 (The Food)

    January 28, 2012 by Barb

    I still get the giggles when I wear my pass

    I knew it was going to be a spectacular night when I stepped off of the elevator.   My nostrils literally flared with joy as the scent of all different dishes passed my nose.  This was my first (and hopefully not last) Grand Chef’s Gala benefitting The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and I did not know what to expect.  (More on the event in my previous post today.)

    I walked into the International Ballroom and stood still for a moment to take it all in.  It was the Academy Awards of food! There was table after table of some of the best restaurants and culinary artists that Chicago has to offer.

    I had to go for my favorite dishes first….beefcake!  So I went for the familiar faces and tastes at IPO (Trevor Hoyte, supreme braised beef cheeks), The Purple Pig (Jimmy Bannos Jr., pork shoulder and mashed potatoes), and Vie (Nathan Sears, housemade angolotti, ham hock broth and lemon olive oil).  I kept my cougar-side down to a dull puurrrrrr so I wouldn’t scare them off!  (Okay, if they weren’t scared before, they are now!)

    I did get star struck when I met Beverly Clark from aria.  She is on this season’s Top Chef and made sensational pork and kimchi yucca pasteles.  Chef Beverly was such a sweetheart and we will keep cheering her on in the Top Chef Last Chance Kitchen!  (If you are behind on your Tivo, don’t read the previous sentence so I don’t spoil the surprise.)

    When my mouth wasn’t busy talking, I was filling it with food.  There were a bunch of wonderful bites but I have to give double thumbs up to Lockwood’s Celery Root Soup with Warm Salmon, Prasino’s Tuna Tar Tar with avocado, wasabi caviar on a sesame cracker, and Avil’s Cretan beef and eggplant.

    My other favorite’s were not only given a thumb’s up for taste but a gold star for presentation such as Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse (Carpaccio of dry aged beef on little wooden platters), Libertad (tuna coconut mojito ceviche served with sugarcane spoons) and Gaetano’s (bread cannoli stuffed with pheasant and chicken).

    Now if this were the Oscar’s the music would be playing right now and I would be panicking trying to fit in everyone’s name!  So quickly thank you to:

    Bistronomic, Blackbird, Blue 13, Coco Pazzo, Davanti Enoteca, Flemings Prime Steakhouse, Grace, Heaven on Seven, Hugo’s Frog & Chop House at River’s Casino, Inovasi, L2O, Leopold, Markethouse, Marigold, Mercadito, Mercat a la Planxa, Mexique, Nana, Piccolo Sogno, RIA, Rockit Bar & Grill, Sabor Saveur, Salatino’s, Saloon Steakhouse, Technique at Le Cordon Bleu, The Bristol, The Signature Room at the 95th,  and my mom.  (Okay my mom wasn’t there but if I am going to have an Oscar moment, I have to thank her.)

    The honor I accepted this evening was being part of this lavish event.  You all spoiled me with your rich food, warm reception and engaging banter.   And thank you for making my first year as a small town food blogger  a dream.



  2. Foodie Fun Day #6: Grand Chefs Gala Part I (The Event)

    January 28, 2012 by Barb


    Last night I had the honor of attending the 15th Annual Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Grand Chefs Gala and Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence, benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

    The Havana themed night started at 6 p.m with a 2-hour showcase of 40 of Chicago’s finest chefs preparing and presenting their signature hors d’oeuvres.  (More on the detail on the food in my next blog, Grand Chefs Gala Part II.)

    After guests loosened their belts, the party was directed to the Imperial Ballroom for a 3-course dinner and the live program.  Chefs Scott Harris (Mia Francesca, The Purple Pig) and Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven, The Purple Pig) received the prestigious Founders’ Award for their community involvement, extraordinary service and leadership in the Chicago Community.  (Congratulations to two amazing and admirable chefs!)

    The awards didn’t stop there..acclaimed chef Jean Banchet presented the 2011 Jean Banchet (not a coincidence, it was named after him) Awards for Culinary Excellence.

    The evening’s winners were:

    Chef of the Year:  Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster (I saw him early in the evening and wished him luck so I am taking a little credit on this one. Ha ha)

    Pastry Chef of the Year:  Amanda Rockman, The Bristol

    Best Chef-de-Cuisine:  Dave Beran, Next

    Rising Chef of the Year: Chris Macchia, Coco Pazzo

    Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Sarah Jordan, BOKA

    Best Sommelier: Michael Muser, The Peninsula

    Best Mixologist: Josh Pearson, Sepia

    Best New Restaurant: Next

    Best Neighborhood Dining:  The Bristol

    Eurest Peoples Choice Award: The Purple Pig (In case you were unaware, Jimmy Bannos Jr. is the chef so it is pretty neat that he and his dad won an award on the same night.  I’m sentimental that way.)

    The night was also filled with a live auction AND a silent auction to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis and concluded with an amazing nightcap serving delectable desserts (tuxes were unbuttoned and girdles were in the trash at this point), fun cocktails, live music and dancing.

    The goal this year was to raise over $500,00 and I hope that even if you were unable to attend the event you will take the time to donate now.

    Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease affecting 30,000 children and adults in the United States of America.  Both the respiratory system and digestive tract are compromised so every day activities that we take for granted like breathing and eating cause great difficulties.

    In 1955, a child with CF did not live long enough to attend school.  Now because of research and care supported by the Foundation, CF patients are living to be in their upper 30’s.  (It is an improvement but still too young!)  Breakthroughs are continuing to be made with the hopes controlling and hopefully curing this disease.

    Thank you to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for sharing your evening and your stories with me.  It was a wonderful yet humbling night that I will never forget.