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Art Smith Celebrates 10 Years with Common Threads

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Bill Telepan and Gail Simmons with the Small Threads.
Bill Telepan and Gail Simmons with the Small Threads.

[Photos: Barry Brecheisen]

More than 500 guests came out to support Common Threads and help Art Smith celebrate the organization's 10-year anniversary at The United Club at Soldier Field on Monday evening. The annual World Festival brought over 60 chefs together, mostly local, with a few celebrities splashed in for good measure. Also on hand was Food & Wine's editor-in-chief and Bravo's "Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons to help host the evening.

Simmons kicked off the festivities with a trolley from The James Hotel to Kendall College where roughly 35 VIP guests were treated to a short demonstration of a Common Threads class. With a group of "small threads" present, Simmons and chef Bill Telepan led the kids through a hands-on demo to show supporters what Common Threads is truly about. Telepan taught the kids to make a dairy and nut-free pesto, while Simmons shared her ricotta with baked fresh fruit dessert. Not only were the small threads thrilled when Simmons walked into the room, but they were even more excited to take pictures with her. After sampling what the kids prepared, the VIP's loaded back on the trolley and headed to Soldier Field where the grand tasting began.

The World Festival VIP's arrived an hour before general admission for a special tasting with Siena Tavern, Untitled, Beverly Kim and mixologist Matty Colston. And finally, the doors of the main hall in The United Club swung open, full of chefs ready to serve. The festival was cleverly segmented into Chicago neighborhoods with restaurants stationed in specific areas like Pilsen, Little Italy, River North and West Loop. The out-of-town chefs, sprinkled in between, such as Ming Tsai, David Burke, Rick Tramonto and David LeFevre passed out plates of food while joking with guests about getting snowed in for an extra day. Local chefs, however, shrugged off weather reports and enjoyed visiting tables just as much as the guests. As Common Threads CEO Linda Novick O'Keefe said, "World Festival is an example of the power of the chef community." Not only do these chefs rally throughout the year to entertain supporters, teach classes and give their time for the organization, but they come together to celebrate as well. Guests dined on everything from Korean short ribs from Bill Kim, Bridgeport Stew from Kevin Hickey and Antique Taco served up Crispy Fish Tempura Tacos with Horchata Milkshakes on the side. Later that evening chefs relaxed at The James Hotel for the after party where David Burke served snacks like mini corn dogs, chicken wontons and tomato mozzarella kabobs as guests danced the night away to celebrate another successful World Festival.
· All Hangover Observations [~ECHI~]
· Common Threads [Official Site]

Siena Tavern

51 West Kinzie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 595-1322 Visit Website