Yesterday I went to Chicago Gourmet, a food festival hosted by Bon Appetite. Although it is a bit pricy (my single day ticket was $180), the price is justified by the fact that you get to try food from top restaurants, taste wine from dozens of vineyards and distributors, and watch live cooking demonstrations. It is a lot like what I imagine heaven to be like. I will admit that I did an awful job taking photos, but in my defense, my hands were full with food and wine.
One of the highlights of the day was a cooking demonstration given by Graham Elliot and Merlin Verrier. They made a risotto with PBR, brats, and cheddar. They also made fun of hipsters – but credited them with turning not very nice areas into places where rich people want to live. (They predict that the hipsters are going to take over the Bronx next). Graham taught everyone how to look busy and trick your dinner guests into thinking you know what you are doing by dramatically stirring everything. Graham also announced that “like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Grahamwich will be resurrected”. Oh and according to Graham, if you don’t have Cheez-Its at home, you aren’t American. All joking aside, I did learn that the trick to making risotto in 20 minutes is to add warm stock!
When I wasn’t watching demonstrations, I was wandering around eating and drinking. When you enter the festival, you are given a wine glass and a special plate that is designed to hold your wine glass. It is absolutely brilliant, because this way you can hold your food, your wine, and eat all at once. I think I want to buy more of these plates. One of my friends said that these plates would be perfect for eating and drinking while watching reality tv. I think these plates would be perfect for Sunday Night Dinner.
What could be more fun than eating and drinking outside in one of Chicago’s most beautiful parks on a perfect fall day? I have already decided that I want to go back to Chicago Gourmet next year. I loved getting to meet some of the people behind my favorite restaurants in person. Chicago Gourmet is the perfect way to get introduced to dozens of restaurants in the city, and to decide where to go next.
I hope that you had a fun weekend too!