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7 Things to Know About Chicago Gourmet 2015

Tons of prime beef and gallons of simple syrup await guests.

Chicago Gourmet
Chicago Gourmet
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

This is Chicago Gourmet's eighth year, and organizers from Bon Appétit and the Illinois Restaurant Association aren't letting their feet off the gas. It's no surprise that main event tickets for this weekend have sold out. The three-day event continues to grow, as organizers feel the public's appetite continues to grow. Case in point: Organizers say the tickets, which went on sale in April, sold out in record time earlier this month.

The only tickets that remain are for tonight's Late Night Gourmet at the Underground, Saturday's Punch Kings/Pigs n' Tiki and Sunday morning's family-oriented Rise & Shine Gourmet. Tickets for those events will also be available onsite.

If you're venturing to Millennium Park or any of the other events, like tonight's Hamburger Hop at the Harris Theater rooftop, here's a quick primer.

1) This year, Chicago Gourmet lured 208 chefs, the most ever. Sure, famous local chefs like Rick Bayless and Art Smith (who also attended Chicago Food+Wine Festival last month) are representing Chicago, but the event also brought in big names from elsewhere, including headliner Emeril Lagasse.

2) They're really pushing the smartphone app. With so much to take in, event organizers advise on downloading the app, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android.

3) This is the first year of Sunday morning yoga with Rise & Shine Gourmet, which may help abate those feelings of gluttony from Friday and Saturday. It's one of the first public events at Maggie Daley Park, which opened in December 2014. The morning event will also feature Paul Kahan (Publican, One Off Hospitality) and Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe) who will go through a lesson from Chicago Public Schools on how food brings different people together.

4) Here are some projected stats on ingredients used or consumed this year from Paramount Events, the catering company at Chicago Gourmet:

  • There's 45 different types of drink garnishes.
  • 100 gallons of housemade simple syrup on hand.
  • 125 gallons of housemade flavored simple syrup will be present.
  • More than 2,000 pounds of charcuterie and cheese will be consumed.
  • 100 gallons of freshly-squeezed lime juice will be ready.
  • 100 gallons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice will be made.
  • 60 gallons of freshly-squeezed orange juice will be poured for mimosas and other drinks.

5) The Hamburger Hop continues to grow, but what's a good burger without quality beef? Chicago Gourmet sources its beef from Buckhead Beef, which is Georgia-based and was the official beef supplier of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. That's USDA Prime, Dakota 100-percent, grass-feed beef. The Wagyu's from Durham Ranch.

6) Speaking of protein, casual-chain Chipotle has a prime seat at Chicago Gourmet, as they're sampling chorizo that's currently only available at their Kansas City locations. Get a taste on their take on the Mexican pork sausage via the best conduit: Tacos.

7) The Grand Cru features chefs and restaurants showcased as best new restaurants in Bon Appétit, both current and past honorees. So Dove's Luncheonette, Fat Rice, Balena, The Purple Pig, Ruxbin and Yusho will be there. But don't forget the wine, as six Master Sommeliers will be on hand to pour for attendees.

Millennium Park

201 East Randolph Street, , IL 60602 (312) 742-1168 Visit Website

Maggie Daley Park

337 East Randolph Street, , IL 60601 (312) 552-3000 Visit Website