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Where Visiting Chefs Ate While in Town for the James Beard Awards

From Gerard Craft to Jonathan Waxman, the chefs discuss where they ate while in Chicago.

Jonathan Waxman
Jonathan Waxman
Fine Cooking

Where did the culinary luminaries eat while they were in Chicago for the James Beard Awards, held Monday night at the Lyric Opera House? And where did they still hope to eat at or wished they had the time to? Below are their responses.

Gerard Craft: We got here Saturday. Where haven't we eaten? Blackbird with Perry Hendrix. We went to TopolobampoBokaNico (Osteria)Eataly and I know I'm forgetting a few... I really wanted to go get the bistro menu at Next. It didn't work out. 42 GramsFat Rice. We went to the Little Goat diner, too. Matthew Rice, the pastry chef there is awesome. We love the guys at Sepia and Trenchermen. We have a ton of good friends here. Balena.

David Chang: I got in this morning. I want to come back. There's too many places to eat. I'm trying to figure out how to get to Johnnie's Beef right now. And I really wish Hot Doug's was open right now. I've been there before and I want it now. Those are the two things I want to eat.

Barry Maiden: I came in on Friday. We have gone to several places. Lula CaféAntique TacoavecLongman & EagleTrenchermen for brunch. So we've picked quite a few spaces. More of Paul Kahan's places. I really want to go to The Publican. I'm still trying to get up north for some fried chicken at Honey ButterParachute is the other place I want to try.

Daniel Boulud: I went to see Paul Kahan. I went to see Stephanie Izard. Grant Achatz, Dave Beran at Next.

Jonathan Waxman: I think that I'm always in Chicago. I love Chicago. I've loved Chicago for 40 years. Coming here is magical for me. I think that it's where America comes together. Paul Kahan and I are like brothers. He's such a humble guy. He's also funny as shit. He once told me a story about going ice fishing in Wisconsin where I almost lost it. It was the funniest story I'd ever heard in my life.

We had a very special meal at Spiaggia last night. Tony (Mantuano) and I are contemporaries in many ways, but we didn't know each other until we did Top Chef Masters. We just fell in love. We were so connected in many ways. It was perfect. I love the wine list. We went to Momotaro, The Publican, Big Star, GT Fish & Oyster. I love Nico (Osteria), I love what Erling (Wu-Bower) is doing. I wanted to go to Gibson's, but it was too packed. Last time I was here I went to Bavette's. I really like Bavette's. I want to go to Frontera, but they're closed Sunday and Monday.

Donald Link: I got here on Saturday. We had some great food at Frontera, Blackbird and Nico (Osteria) today for lunch, which was awesome. Spectacular. Well you know, there's only so much time. It would be nice if to be eating somewhere right now. I didn't get my snack on the way in tonight. I didn't do a whole lot. Just took it easy. I did go to Shanghai Terrace, that was fun. I went with some other chefs. That took up a few hours so that was nice.

Ming Tsai: We'll be here two nights. This is a quick one, in and out. This is my second home. We had a great meal at Girl and the Goat. I had tasty treats at Alinea just today. They had a fantastic takoyaki, which is an octopus on a stick kind of thing in Japan but they made it Alinea-style. Including a hot potato, cold potato dish and the best tomato water bloody Mary ever. That was just this morning. Then we had a great lunch at GT Fish & Oyster, which was phenomenal. Giuseppe's (Tentori) an unbelievable cook. He had oyster kimchi sliders, beautiful oysters raw, crab salad, smelts, fantastic razor clams. Usually, late night I'll be at The Wiener's Circle at 2 or 3 a.m. If it's a good night. If not, I'll be at the hotel sleeping.

Curtis Stone: We got in two nights ago. We had a pizza at Eataly, which I know is not deep dish, but we had a pizza there when we arrived. Then we went to Alinea last night. Unbelievable. It was so fortunate the way it turned out, because it was their tenth anniversary. Of course the food is spectacular. Then the entire dining room went into the kitchen and they popped this huge bottle of champagne. Amazing to congratulate the chefs on such a brilliant achievement. I've never got enough time when I'm in Chicago. You've got so many great spots to eat at. I really wanted to eat at Takashi's spot this trip. Grace I ate at last time and I'd love to go back to. There's a half-dozen hot dog places I want to go to that I'm not going to get to.

Lyric Opera

20 N Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606 312 332 2244 Visit Website

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