Now it is time for one of MY favorite parts of 12thannual Chicago Gourmet Lights, Camera, Napkin (September 28-29, 2019) ….it isn’t ALL about the pavilion hopping I wrote about last week….it is about some name dropping!!!  

For those of us who watch cooking shows on television or read cooking magazines like Bon Appetit, there is a movie star aura about chefs.  These are the folks who trend set what we find in our stores and see on our plates. They are the women and men who create art with their food.  In general, they make the biggest cooking fan completely tongue tied! (Or make you stand really awkwardly in anticipation….for example….)

Chef Jamie Bissonette and Chef Stephanie Izard…..and me looking like I’m a cheerleader who said “Ready, okay!”

The chefs at Chicago Gourmet are a blast to bump into at the Gourmet Tasting Pavilions and they truly are enthused to talk about their food and a lot of time what you are personally cooking at home! Every year, I come home with a wealth of knowledge.

Chef Kristine Subido (Free Rein) was the first chef who opened her doors to Felt Like a Foodie. I am forever grateful for the information she has shared and the time she invested in my little small town blog.
Chef Lorena Garcia one of our favorites every year!
Chef Diana Davila….one of the amazing chefs who is changing how we see food….and I have wanted to meet her for YEARS!
I met Chef Mario Garcia ( (720 South Bar & Grill, Hilton Chicago) on a 3 day cheese tour. He is not only a friend but makes me appreciate the work that goes into the hospitality industry. Check out his Instagram: elchefmariogarcia

And if the chef is preoccupied at their pavilion, you may get to get your favorite cookbook signed. Thanks to Barbara’s Bookstore for always being great! 

I can’t put this book down!
Chef Jonathon Sawyer be warned…I’m taking notes in my book and I’ll have questions next time I see you.
Chef Sarah Grueneberg is working on her first book…I can’t wait to see it!

But this year, I took a weird, unintentional turn.  Without painting too much a picture, as a person with Crohn’s I frequent the bathroom a lot and in a bizarre turn of events….I kept bumping into chefs as they were off to do the same thing.  As I said to Chef Jimmy Bannos, Sr., I thought he was a unicorn and didn’t go to the bathroom (And isn’t it cute that he went with his son, Jimmy Bannos, Jr.)

It is an amusing side of life that I just went with and I WAS NOT following anyone into the bathrooms! (I don’t care what that restraining order says! Ha-ha)

Great sport, Chef Joe Flamm, had just finished his demo when I asked him to take a picture.
Aaron Thebault (Maddon’s Post) was waiting for Chef Flamm when I ambushed him.
Cedric Harden (River Roast) is probably happy that he didn’t follow his friends after the demo of Tony Mantuano and his Three Sons.
Chef Eric Lees (Spiaggia’s new exec. chef) according to the “tabloids” will stick to the kitchen and not go the TV chef route but I hope he leaves that door open because it is an opportunity to teach others and share knowledge.
Chef Mathias Merges (who will soon be opening a Billy Sunday in Charlotte, NC) makes every person he sees feel important. He is not one of the loudest voices Chicago Gourmet and yet he says so much in his actions and kindness.

 So, as you can see, Chicago Gourmet has something for everyone. (And as it was pointed out to me on the social media, I leave out the gigantic wine/spirit options each year since I don’t drink.  Maybe next year I can bring along a couple designated drinkers!)

Thank you to the great people who do all the work in front of the scenes and behind the scenes.  I can’t wait to do it again next year, September 25-27, 2020.   

Love to the people who are the true stars in my life.
“I’ll Have What She’s Having”
Flat Stanley…he is famous…in his own way…and I’m a good aunt who keeps her promise!