As promised last year, I wanted to give people a head’s up on a few wonderful food and wine events that are taking place in the near future.

First, the 15th annual Fairmont Hotel and Resorts Grand Chefs Gala/Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence is taking place THIS Friday night, January 27 at the Fairmont Chicago in Millennium Park.  The evening’s events are to support The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  (I’ll write more about the event on Saturday).

The evening’s events will include a cocktail reception featuring some of Chicago’s finest chefs, a dinner program featuring the Jean Banchet Awards, Founder’s Award, Eurest People’s Choice Award and a silent auction.  The evening will conclude with a wonderful nightcap with delightful pastries and dancing.

Tickets and more information can be found at

The next event: Catholic Charities will host the 11th Annual d’Vine Affair, a Tasting of Fine Wines, which supports its Self-Sufficiency Programs in Cook and Lake Counties. The event is scheduled at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd. on Sunday, January 29, 2012

To register, log on to or call (312) 655-7912. For more information contact Ashley Owen, event coordinator for Catholic Charities at (312) 655-7912 or email

And finally for my reader’s who aren’t in Chicagoland, Food and Wine Magazine launched “Chef’s Make Change”  (CMC).  It is a coalition of ten “superstar” chefs. Each chef will be sponsoring their favorite charity with the goal of raising one million dollars for hungry kids, struggling farmers and changing the lives of families in need.

More information about the chefs, their charities, and some fabulous recipes can be found in the February issue of Food and Wine Magazine on newsstands NOW.  (I just finished my issue and it is GREAT!)

Please go to Food and Wine’s Facebook page to make a donation.  (It will automatically reroute you if you don’t have a facebook account, so everyone can be a part of this great cause.)

So that’s all I know about for now.  I’ll keep working on this aspect of the blog.  I kind of feel like Julie the Cruise Director!  : )