This weekend is a busy one in Chicago with the Ryder Cup in town and the golf world’s eyes upon us and the restaurant showcase event Chicago Gourmet held in Millennium Park. I’ve been lucky to be a part of the event last year and this by emceeing various events. This year I’ve got two great wine sessions to help with – Essentially Italy with Martin Sinkoff, Director of Marketing and Fine wine with Frederick Wildman and Sons and White Burgundy from Macon to the Cru’s with Fred Dame, Master Sommelier with Southern Wine and Spirits of California.
If you’ve been in the past, you know the event has grown and adapted to the crowds demands to make it easier to get food and drink and spend as little time in line as possible. I’m excited to see the improvements to this year’s event and I’m not jinxing it by mentioning the weather!
Here are a couple of quick tips on how to enjoy the event and make sure you don’t miss anything!
- Download the apps to your phone. It has everything you can imagine in there from sessions to who’s serving when. It also has profiles on the presenters.
- Checkout the website to game plan so you can plan on where to be when and not find yourself on the complete other end of the event when you need to be at the Choral Room for a wine tasting.
- Try EVERYTHING from different foods and wines you don’t think you like. When can you easily try 20 different wines and confirm you really are a Riesling drinker and other wines are not for you?
- Get to the event early since a line does form to enter as the gates open.
- Also, get to any sessions about 10 minutes early to confirm you get a good spot. The sessions do fill up especially the wine education since you’ll be tasting and most pour heavy.
- You’ll stand in a longer line at the most popular chefs tasting areas…this is obvious but perhaps you want to get a beer beforehand so you at least won’t go thirsty. Plus the beer glass swag is kind of nice.
- HAVE FUN! Yes you’ll probably wait in a line because the event is popular but for a few hours where do you have to be? There’s no rush, so take a deep breath.
- If you’re taking a golf fan and they’re annoyed not to be watching the Ryder Cup – have them download that app so they can stay in touch with the match. You also can’t be annoyed if they look at their phone, physically they are present especially on Sunday.
Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at email@example.com. Joe also contributes to Eater.com Chicago.