Common Threads Celebrates 10th Anniversary at World Festival 2013 with 65 Top Chefs

Common Threads celebrated its 7th annual World Festival and the 10th anniversary of this non-profit organization, an after school cooking program that hopes to get one million American kids moving away from fast food and toward healthy meals with their families by 2017.  It's a lofty goal, but with the dedication and passion shown by founders Chef Art Smith, artist Jesus Salguiero and executive director Linda Novick O'Keefe, it is sure to happen sooner rather than later.

World Festival is Common Threads largest fundraiser, now in its 7th iteration, and growing bigger and better every year.  This year, more than 65 top chefs gathered at Soldier Field on March 4 to offer specialty dishes to more than 500 supporters.  Top Chef Gail Simmons kicked off the event at Kendall College with a VIP experience.  35 lucky guests enjoyed a trolley ride to Kendall College where eight Small Threads from a Common Threads class were waiting to show-off their cooking skills.  They prepared a nut and dairy-free pesto with roasted fruit and ricotta parfaits.

Participating chefs included Bill Kim (Urban Belly and Belly Shack); Rey Villalobos (Table Fifty-Two); Jess De Guzman (Sunda); Takashi Yagihashi (Slurping Turtle); David Blonsky (Siena Tavern); Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno Due); Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger); Rick Tramanto (Restaurant R'evolution); Floyd Cardoz (North End Grill); Alex Rosado (Post 154); David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post); and Beverly Kim.

I was proud to co-host this fabulous event with Hillshire's' Jon Harris and Beam Global's Minday Mckenzie.  Other prominent guests included food photographer Stephen Hamilton, celebrity chef and designer Jaime Laurita, Sausages by AmyLu's Amy Kurzawski, FTS International Express, Inc.'s John Chiu, Michelin star chef Homaru Cantu, Rockit Ranch Productions' Billy Dec and 24/7's Catie Keogh.  Hot DJ Sye Young returned again this year with his sizzling mixes.

To read more about this exciting event, please check out

AND stay tuned for video coverage coming soon on Watch312's "Candid Candace Chicago"!

(Photos by Mila Samokhina)

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