On a nearly-perfect summer evening last week, the 7th Annual Chefs on the Grill event took at The Plaza at Millennium Park located at the Park Grill (11 North Michigan Avenue). Seventeen local chefs competed in this epic “grill off” pairing each of their grilled items with a delectable cocktail. The winners in each category were chosen entirely by popular vote.
If you didn’t have a chance to experience this event, I highly recommend grabbing tickets for next year. I have rarely had so much fun (and eaten so much food) at an outdoor culinary event in Chicago. This one is totally unpretentious, fun, and a great way to celebrate the coming of summer to Chicago each year.
This year’s participating chefs were:
- Park Grill - Chef Gil Langlois
- Tavern at the Park - Chef Rene Lorenzano
- Old Town Pour House - Chef Paul Katz
- SideDoor - Chef Vic Newgren
- Howells and Hood - Chef Scott Walton
- The Gage - Chef Pete Coenen
- Ani - Chef Shin Matsuda
- Chicago Yacht Club - Chef Jill Dedinsky
- Zapatista - Chef Alberto Mendez
- Flo & Santos - Chef Mark Rimkus
- Twisted Spoke - Chef Mitch Einhorn
- Tesori - Chef Andrew Deuel
- The Chicago Firehouse - Chef Cesar Reyes
- The Dawson - Chef Anthony DiRienzo
- Markethouse - Chef De’Ann Wellwerts
- Frontier - Chef Brian Jupiter
- Taco Joint - Chef Edgar Torres
This year’s winners beat out a truly astounding field of competitors, but the final votes went to:
- Chicago Yacht Club (Chef Jill Dedinsky) - Smoky passion fruit margarita
- The Gage (Chef Pete Coenen) - Coffee rubbed grilled short rib with grilled ramps and mac nut pesto
Awards were given out by last year’s winner, Chef de Cuisine Cory Morris of Mercat a la Planxa. Live music by Chicago-based band “Murley” livened up the evening and a raffle for such prizes as restaurant gift cards, hotel stays, spa packages, museum passes, event tickets and more took place throughout the evening..
This year the fun, outdoor event benefitted two charities: Common Threads and the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart program. Common Threads, founded by Chef Art Smith and artist Jesus Salgueiro, teaches children living in under-served communities how to cook wholesome, healthy meals in professional led, curriculum-based after-school programs. ProStart provides curriculum and scholarships for high school students interested in pursuing the culinary arts and management in the restaurant industry.