The Day We Rocked the Fork at Chicago Gourmet

Like all true Chicagoans, we love to eat. So, whenever 11th annual Chicago Gourmet festival beckoned us to “Rock the Fork,” The Local Tourist had to be there! Chicago Gourmet is a week-long event produced by the Illinois Restaurant Association along with title sponsor Bon Appetit magazine. This gustatory extravaganza brings together renowned chefs, incredible dishes, top notch beverages, and food enthusiasts galore in celebration of all things culinary. This year’s theme, Rock the Fork, blended together food and music for a sensory explosion to be remembered. Music took center stage with pop-up performances on the Great Lawn, the 93XRT live music stage in the South Promenade, and rockin’ country inside BBQ, Beer and Bourbon pavillion. Ready to rock your fork?

We attended the Main Event on Sunday, September 30th. With hundreds of chefs, restaurants and beverage experts camping out on the Great Lawn for the weekend, we had our hands and bellies full sampling the goods. Where else can we rub elbows with the likes of Stephanie Izard or Rick Bayless? “The Main Event is a great opportunity to experience all that our great city has to offer,” said Chef Joe Flamm of Spiaggia. “I love that you can watch a cooking demo with a James Beard Award winning chef, try award-winning food from across the city and cool off with a cocktail all in one place.” We couldn’t agree more, Chef Joe!

The best bite of the day for us was found in Mariano’s Tasting Pavillion. It belonged to Chef Ian Davis of Michelin-starred Band of Bohemia. So good in fact it was, that we braved the line several times. Anyone who knows yours truly knows how much I hate lines! But this bite was worth it. Smoked sturgeon wrapped in delicate lacy crépe topped with salty dollop of caviar, yum… Between those and roasted oysters inside the media tent we could have died happy. But of course there is no rest for the wicked!

We paid a visit to the Aperol spritz tent, naturally. We have priorities, and sparkling beverages go straight to the top. We made our annual pilgrimage to Roederer Estate for outstanding sparkling wines from California. Rosé All Day tent was not to be missed, of course. And the cocktails, those glorious cocktails… We were grateful for nosh stations stocked with charcuterie, cheeses and crackers to help us along. Maple Leaf Farms duck bacon gets an honorable mention: delicious, savory and slightly gamey, it was one of the highlights.

Chicago Gourmet was once again a magnificent feast for all senses. The rain didn’t stop the merriment as Chicagoans turned out in droves to rock their forks. And let’s be honest, we are already waiting for next year’s festival. Who wouldn’t?! Let’s rock the fork again!

Annual Chicago Gourmet festival takes place every September in Millennium Park, in the heart of Chicago.

The Local Tourist single day media pass courtesy of (IMR) Isabelli Media Relations.

All photos by Gourmet Rambler.






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