14,000 Faithful Foodies Taste a Slice of Culinary Heaven in One Amazing Weekend
Yes, it really was like that iconic moment in Field of Dreams, when John Kinsella asks “Is this heaven?” For almost 14,000 epicureans who swarmed Millennium Park last weekend, the only answer possible was “It’s Chicago.” There’s no better way to describe the eighth annual celebration of the city’s burgeoning gourmet population and top place on the world food stage, featuring master sommeliers, industry tastemakers and 200 household name chefs. Some highlights and sound bites:
More champagne, please. Master sommelier Alpana Singh, owner of Chicago’s popular Seven Lions and The Boardinghouse restaurants, urged the group to consider champagne for non-celebrations. “Just because it’s everyday food doesn’t mean that champagne is not a great match.” Among her recommendations: Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose as ‘crockpot champagne,’ to pair with chili, braised meats like pot roast, short ribs; and a single vintage champagne for all types of ethnic foods, such as a 2006 sparkler from Grand Cru vineyards that goes particularly well with cumin-accented Indian and Mexican dishes.
Sweet home Chicago. Big Green Egg’s smokin’ baby back ribs and equally smokin’ s’mores in sugar cones, Terzo Piano at the Art Institute’s intensely chocolate entremets, Vanille Patisserie’s maple bacon tart with smoked caramel, candied bacon pieces and bacon mousse.
Sustainable food is no longer is no longer a movement for the enlightened, but a mainstream reality. Catherine De Orio of WTTW’s Check, Please, says farm to table, seasonal and slow food have moved beyond trends to become a part of every menu and plate. “It’s not a marketing tool anymore, you have to care about ingredients and sourcing if you’re in this industry.” She points to Chicago Gourmet’s robust attendance as an example of how important it is to the dining public to “learn how to source it right, cook it well...people are really committed to it.” The Ark of Taste, a living catalog of distinctive foods facing extinction, was skillfully spotlighted by Chicago restaurateurs Jared Van Camp and Bruce Sherman, who featured Lake Michigan whitefish, Esopus Spitzenberg apples, and Jimmy Nardello’s sweet Italian frying peppers at their well-attended demo.
There’s the rub. Lee Anne Whippen, chef/partner, Chicago q Restaurant, recommended her quick and easy rub for lamb chops: 1 ½ c mayonnaise, ¼ c red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp coarse pepper, 1 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 garlic cloves, minced and 2 tsp prepared horseradish.
Trending at the top. Bon Appetit Executive Chef Mary Nolan says the bacon and high fat trend may be on the wane; look for vegetables as mainstay, not just for vegetarians and cocktails that are sourced with the same attention to ingredients as center of the plate items. For the holidays, think traditional with some twists, such as basil pecan cheese ball appetizers, and unique desserts like pear upside down cake, double ginger sticky toffee pudding and vegan chocolate tarts with a salted oat crust.
- Posted: October 27, 2015
- Categories: In Our Communities